The origins of Suridealism


A summary of the origins of Suridealism. A movement you’ve likely not heard of.

Suridealism is a term used to describe fine art and literary art movements from the early 20th century.

Emile Malespine (1892 – 1952) coined the term in 1925 in the magazine publication, Manometre. In his Manifesto Du Suridealisme, Malespine in part states, “Idea, ideal: Suridealism is both of these things at the same time; the idea is mixed with the word and becomes an image.” And “conscious and unconscious: these two terms must be identified in a higher idealized term. Suridealism will therefore be, in its most general expression, a consciousness awakened by unconsciousness, and this consciousness, in turn, modifies the subconsciousness.”[i]

Malespine lists the following artists as Suridealists:

Hans Arp; Andre Desson; Marcel Arland; Maples Arce; Victor Brauner ; Giuseppe Leonardi ; Celine Arnauld ; Sofronio Pocarini ; F. L. Bernardez ; Nore Brunel; J. L. Borges; Bourgeois; Tilly Brugman; Rogelio Buendia; Giorgio Carmelich; Julio Casal; Alvaro Cebreiro; Serge Charchoune; Paul Dermee; Maurice Casteels; Arthur Petronio; Emile Didier; Robert Delaunay; Joseph Delteil; Karl Teige; Van Doesburg ; Edwards; Marcel Raval; Hans Richter; Ivan Goll; Gino Gori; Fernant Berckelaers; Jozef Peeters; Vincent Huidobro; Louis Kassak; Jacques Laplace ; Pierre Laurent; Emile Malespine; Marius Riollet; Lissitzki; Georges Linze; Marinetti; Kurt Schwitters ; Hannes Meyer; Moholy-Nagy; Enrico Prampolini; Jean Hytier; Vinicio Paladini; Thadee Peiper; Paul Nouge; Benjamin Peret ; Jules Roblin; Correa-Calderon ; Ramon Gomez De La Serna; Louis Thomas ; Tristan Tzara; Isaac Del Vando Villar; Vasari; Alberto Vianello; Victor Servrankx; Ilia Zdanevitch.

Suridealism was also used to describe a literary movement in 1927 by the novelist Maryse Choisy.[ii] The movement had a feminist objective and countered the male-dominated Surrealist movement and wanted to expand upon the novel genre of fiction writing.

Choisy initially claimed to have coined the term; however, that is countered by Malespine in his July 1928 Der Sturm article entitled “Proteste.” Malespine writes contesting Choisy being the founder of Suridealism and rightfully defends his claim that he was the first to use and define the term.[iii] The tone in his article is stern, and he speaks harshly against the Parisian artists who he says think they are better than all others, even to the point they can stake a claim on a term that was already invented. Malespine claims Choisy invited him to join her movement, which he publicly refuses, having already created the movement.

In Choisy’s description of the Suridealist movement, she says, “Women are often criticized for being conservative, for being incapable of creating or even following the avant-garde movements. It is up to a few creative women painters and talented musicians to prove otherwise. A Suridealist group of under 30s has just been founded, which has gathered the most important names among the rising generation.”

Choisy continues, “Our century is the century of youth. But it is also the century of women. The purely masculine civilization is a failure. It is up to the woman to set the tone, which does not mean that we exclude the man from our songs or from our meetings. We are more generous, more inclusive. There are men in our group and even in our committee. But the crusade of Suridealism is led by women.

Pure intelligence has gone bankrupt. Help will come from the heart. Not from a heavy heart or a heart lush from the senses, but from a heart bursting from emptiness. A Suridealist heart. In the heart vs. intelligence match. Suridealism cheers for the heart.”

In Graphic Arts, the term is used in the French publication, Tambour (1929 – 1930). Author Richard Thoma in his article “Alastair,” describes schools of art in the statement -“It is an error to believe that the Surrealists, the Cubists, the Impressionists, the Futurists, the Symbolists, the Expressionists, the Vorticists, the Pandemoniumists, the Suridealists possess imagination and superhuman powers of interpretation to the exclusion of all other schools of art.”[iv]

In an American publication, the term was first used on April 25th, 1937, in the New York Times. The article labels artist Frank Marvin Blasingame the “suridealist.”[v] Blasingame is the only American painter with this moniker and possibly given without knowing its French origins.

The term was used again on July 17th, 1938, describing Blasingame’s work. Author Edythe Siegal of the Asbury Park Press describes the work as “ultra-modern” and refers to the former April 25th article.[vi] In the same article, Donald Bear, then Director of the Denver Art Museum, says, “The paintings have a great power of spirit. They have a very interesting effect upon me. They are not pictures in the ordinary sense. Rather they appear to be provocative symbols that call up states of imaginative tension.”

Suridealism is again used in 2018 by Antonello Morsillo in his exhibition Il Suridealismo nell’arte (Suridealism in Art). Celeste Network described Morsillo’s exhibition book as “a small treatise on philosophical aesthetics, is completely pervaded by the perception of considering art as an ethical urgency.”[vii]

[i] “Suridéaliste manifesto” Manometer no. 7, February 1925.

[ii] “Manifeste Suridealiste” Les Nouvelles littéraires 22nd October, 1927

[iii] “Proteste” Der Strum, July 1928 page 241 –

[iv] “Alstair” Tambour No. 7. 1930. Salemson, Harold J.. Tambour. United Kingdom, University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.

[v] “FIVE NEW GROUP SHOWS” New York Times, 25th April, 1937 page 172.

[vi] “Suridealist’ Settles Down” Asbury Park Press, 17th July, 1938 page 14.

[vii] “Suridealism in art and Suridealist art as an ethical urgency” Celeste Network 14, November 2018 –


Joe Doyles’s Star Chart Inspired by Polynesian ‘Stick Charts’

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailHad a conversation with Joe Doyle today, always a pleasure talking with and hearing about what inspired some of his work. I’ve been fortune enough to acquire a few of his Abstract Illusionism pieces with plans to continue.

During the conversation we spoke about some of his earliest work, one being “Star Chart” featured in galleries and a number of publications in the late 70’s. Though never specifically written about in any publication I can find, the real inspiration for the piece came from Polynesian navigation charts sometimes referred to as “stick charts”.

Joe Doyle’s “Star Chart” 1975

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”
Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

According to Tegan Mortimer

“These are deceptively simple grids made from small sticks and coconut fronds, which represent the major ocean swells in the South Pacific, with small shells showing the location of islands. The charts showed how the swells interacted with the island shores, the undersea slopes, and currents coming from different directions. While the stick maps were easy to construct, it took many years of study to be able to accurately interpret the real ocean dynamics which they represented.”

Here’s an example stick chart.

Polynesian navigation device showing directions of winds, waves and islands.jpg
By S. Percy Smith, Public Domain, LinkFacebooktwitterlinkedinrssinstagram

Hajime Kato (加藤一) Autobiography English Translation

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailAs one of my pet projects I hired someone to translate Hajime Kato’s (加藤一) Autobiography. I can’t imagine there is enough interest in actually publishing an English version of the book, so for the time being this is just for my own interest. The project began last year and we are slowly picking away at it. I hope to have it complete by the end of 2016.

Hajime Kato Autobiography cover
Hajime Kato Autobiography cover

Hajime Kato autobiography intro
Kato autobiography intro









The autobiography was originally published in 1987. Here’s a short excerpt from the intro. Keep in mind this has not been “edited”.

From the Atelier
Soft light of early autumn coming through the northern window and filling my atelier. It’s a quiet afternoon. I’m working in a classic atelier with entresol in Paris that’s as old as me. If this were in Japan, this type of building would be condemned, and no one would want to use it. However, here in Paris, it’s still very much usable. One draft sketch on the easel. I’m planning to have a private show in Tokyo in 1987, and this is the draft for one of my signature works, “transformer of the wind”. Based on this sketch, I’m going to create a large painting that’s 2 meters by 12 meters. Being loyal to the title, I’d like to paint the dynamic image of the wind’s transformation into wings filling the canvas. My racing bikes are hung upside down from the ceiling . I have 8 of those in total. Those bikes are specially ordered to perfectly fit my body type. I even have so-called “haute-couture” bicycles that could cost as much as a small car. A poet who’s visited my atelier before was amazed, describing it as “cicada’s wings”. He’s right, it’s almost transparent, very light, delicate and strong at the same time, and hardly looks like a device that crawls on the ground.
Those who don’t know about my biography get somewhat weirded out when they look at those bikes hung in the atelier. In fact, before I became a painter, I used to be a cycling sprinter and cycle racer. Bike-racing was my everything back then. However, in later years, I separated myself from the past and moved on as a painter. Painting became my life, and I came to Paris. It’s been 29 years already since I made that decision. Luckily, since the day I sold my first painting, I’ve met people who became fans of my art little by little and I have been able to feed myself. However, I have say, I haven’t completely separated myself from the world of bike racing. It’s been 10 years since I was chosen as a vice-president of Union Cycliste Internationale, and I’ve been part of the effort to hold the world championship in Japan as well.

If you are not familiar with Kato’s work you can check some of it out over on my Pinterest board.

Follow Vintage’s board Hajime Kato (1925-2000) on Pinterest.