Library, 1939. The Museum of Modern Art Archives. Photo: Robert Damora
  • Mezzanine, Education and Research Center

On the eve of director Alfred H. Barr’s pioneering 1936 exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, The Museum of Modern Art announced the arrival in its library of two extraordinary collections of Surrealist literature: those of Paul Éluard, the French poet and central figure of the Surrealist movement, and Camille Dausse, a Parisian doctor and friend to many poets and artists from the group. Comprising almost 700 books, magazines, pamphlets, and other ephemera, the acquisition provided the new department with its formative collection, significantly increasing its holdings in a diversity of forms and genres—from livres d’artistes and automatic drawings to gallery invitations and press clippings—and satisfying the Library Committee’s self-imposed directive to document contemporary art in nontraditional ways. By actively pursuing primary sources and some of the more fugitive traces of contemporary artistic practice, the committee developed an approach to modern art resources that has remained the blueprint for developing research collections to this day. On view together for the first time are some of the rare items from this invaluable collection of Surrealist literature.

Organized by Sheelagh Bevan, Assistant Librarian, The Museum of Modern Art Library.

Licensing of MoMA images and videos is handled by Art Resource (North America) and Scala Archives (all other geographic locations). All requests should be addressed directly to those agencies, which supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to