Raymond Spiteri

Raymond Spiteri teaches art history at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His research and publications focus on the interface of culture and politics in the history of surrealism. He is the coeditor of Surrealism, Politics and Culture (2003), and is currently working on a book project on the polarization of French surrealism into antagonistic factions entitled Surrealism circa 1930: Modernism and Dissensus.



Modernism and its Discontents: The Case of Cahiers d’Art and Surrealism in 1928

In 1927, Christian Zervos, the editor of the prominent art magazine Cahiers d’Art, published an article on the “Dernières œuvres de Picasso.”[1] This article discussed the new direction in Pablo Picasso’s recent body of surrealist-influenced paintings: unlike the restrained compositions of the postwar rappel à ordre, these paintings demonstrated a new expressive dynamism, and signaled Picasso’s openness to novel, disruptive currents in the cultural life of les années folles. For Zervos, this body of work exemplified the path forward for contemporary painting in the wake of cubism, a return to a more expressive pictorial form—a tendency sometimes described as a type of néo-fauvisme.