Lot 86
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Estimation :
80000 - 120000 EUR
Result without fees
Result : 190 000EUR

It comes alive, 1957.

Oil on canvas, signed and dated 57 lower right.

46 x 38 cm.

A few small chips.



- Acquired from the artist by the Furstenrsberg Gallery in 1958.

- Former collection of Arturo Schwarz*.

- Private collection, Paris.

* Arturo Schwarz (1924 - 2021), critic and art historian, specialist of the surrealist and Dada movement, curator of numerous exhibitions, author of the catalog raisonné of Marcel Duchamp, he exhibited Toyen, notably in his gallery in Milan in 1961 during the international exhibition of surrealism.

Marie ?ermínová, known as TOYEN (1902 - 1980)

Her name was Marie ?ermínová, but everyone knows her by her pseudonym Toyen.

Born in Prague on September 21, 1902, this surrealist artist lived and worked most of her life in France, where she died on November 9, 1980, in isolation and precariousness. However, for several years, this mysterious and original woman has been one of the most quoted Czech artists on the art market. After studying at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, Marie ?ermínová co-founded the anarchist group Dev?tsil with the writer Karel Teige in 1920. In 1922, she met the painter Jind?ich Štyrský. Together they participated in a group exhibition organized by Dev?tsil called "Bazart of Modern Art". The two artists inspired each other. They invented an original artistic movement, artificialism (between abstraction and surrealism), whose objectives were to provoke through painting "poetic emotions that are not only optical, to excite a sensitivity that is not only visual.

It is from 1923 that she will choose the pseudonym of TOYEN which according to some would come from the French name of ciTOYEN and for others from the Czech to je on (it is him)

In March 1934, together with J. Štyrský and other artists, including the poets Karel Teige and Václav Nezval, she founded the Czech Surrealist Group. The ties with the French group, which had already been established in 1933, were further strengthened when André Breton and Paul Éluard came to Prague.

From then on, Toyen's works were fully in line with surrealism.

From 1939 to 1945, under the Nazi occupation, Toyen lived in semi-clandestinity and hid the poet Jindrich Heisler (1914-1953), forced to hide because he was Jewish. Stryrsky died in 1942.

During this period 1939 to 1942, she practically abandoned painting to devote herself to drawing. She executed three cycles of drawings to denounce the bestial horror threatening the planet in a precise, simple and chilling style. The links between nature and human needs had given rise to a fantastic world in her imagination, this war brings together reality and imagination, so much so that reality is inconceivable.

In 1948, refusing the totalitarianism which settles in Czechoslovakia, she comes to Paris to join André Breton and the surrealist group. If she participates in all its events, she occupies a place apart, pursuing "the exploration of the night of love" through what links desire and representation.

Over time, Toyen's circle of friends shrinks and the artist takes refuge in a world of her own. The secret, the dream, the subconscious remain her sources of inspiration, as well as the animal world and nature itself.

As in the dream, her painting is the ground of associations of heterogeneous elements, to be seen like indecipherable rebus: gloves, dresses, hair, ovoid forms, eyes populate her visions, where desire and anguish refer to more determined sexual impulses, always animal - the feline constitutes there a kind of archetype of the female sex. In the 1970s, Toyen collaborates in the publications of the collective Now founded by Radovan Ivši? with Georges Goldfayn, Pierre Peuchmaurd, Annie Le Brun, who considers her to be "the most romantic character of surrealism.

In one of her rare confidences, illustrating this secret of the representation which consists in figuring the enigma to face it, Toyen declared in 1976: "In the dark room of the life, I look at the screen of my brain".

Singular in everything, revolutionary and unpredictable, Toyen is a key figure of Czech surrealism, admired by Breton and Eluard.

All his life, Toyen will have only one ambition, obsessional, to use his painting to question the image. To give form to what does not have any.

Sources : ht

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