Saturday, April 10, 2010

ART STYLE: Surrealism (1922-1955) button

Surrealism is an elemental art style, derived from Cubism but relying on fantasy, including the absurd, the incongruous, the weird, and occasionally the morbid. It never had the impact on the decorative arts that its fame since would imply. Surrealism was almost entirely limited to the most radical element of the fine arts community; thus buttons with motifs that can be called Surreal are very rarely found.
Surrealism was as much an exercise of intellectual freedom as it was a fine art. Its philosophical leaders, such as Germany's Max Ernst and Spain's Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, intended it to be free of every normal aesthetic and moral limitation.
"The object was to free artists from all accepted means of expression, so that they might create according to the irrational dictates of their subconscious mind and vision."
It is difficult to fit Picasso into any one style of art because of his forays into many styles, including Expressionism and Cubism as well as Surrealism, but there are buttons that very closely resemble his work.

The above BUTTON: One of the themes common to Surrealistic art was the disembodied hand. Unlike the hand images prevalent in the Victorian era, the Surrealistic hand was mystical, quite unconnected to even an unseen body, and vaguely disconcerting or threatening. This small West German glass button with stylized hands was made during the mid-1950's
Surrealism information is from the About Buttons book by Peggy Ann Osborne


  1. What fine historical workups you do
    Peg to fit in with the buttons we
    see here and there. I loved this
    piece....along with so many of your
    writings. ...Shelley