Marcel Jean (1900-1993) studied at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris before becoming a central figure of the Surrealist group in Paris in 1932. In 1936, he participated in the exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and soon after left France for Budapest, Hungary, where he stayed until the end of World War II. His work was exhibited in the 1947 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at Galerie Maeght and he continued to exhibit as an active member of the Surrealist group in all of the major International Surrealism exhibitions throughout the history of the movement. These exhibitions include the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Brussels, London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, and Amsterdam. In addition to these group exhibitions, Jean exhibited in a succession of solo shows around the globe expanding his practice to additionally include works in collage, drawing, and sculpture. His most widely known work, Spectre du Gardenia is on permanent display in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Jean was also a preeminent scholar and prolific writer. His many published works include the definitive text The History of Surrealist Painting (Paris, 1959; New York, Grove Press), and the Autobiography of Surrealism (New York, 1980; Viking Press), an anthology of Surrealist writings. His work is held in major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, among others. Jean’s work has recently experienced a resurgence in interest with exhibitions throughout New York and San Francisco, including in the 2012 MoMA exhibition Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration.
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