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Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193; 800-809-3343; email sptwd@verizon.net

Last updated: 2-13-12
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Toyen (Marie Cerminova; Czech, 1902–1980)

Toyen / Toyen 2

Arp / Bourgeois / Coutaud / Delvaux / De Chirico / Ernst / Fini / Hayter / Höch / Klee / Lam / Magritte / Masson
Matta / Miró / Picasso / Richier / Seligmann / Sutherland / Tanning/ Toyen / Wunderlich
Toyen, who rejected her name and chose to pursue her career as an artist under an assumed name, was the leading Czech surrealist and one of the many women who played important roles in the International Surrealist movement. A feminist before the name (and in Czech, her assumed name, does not have a gender), she rejected any suggestion that she play a woman's role and endorsed the anarchist movement. She and the Czech poet, Jindrich Styrsky went to Paris in the early 1920s and announced their own alternative to both Abstraction and Surrealism, Artificialism. By the mid-1930s, however, her work had become sufficiently Surrealist that, back in Prague, they became founding members of the Czech Surrealist group. In 1935, Andre Breton and the poet, Paul Eluard, came to Prague and began a lifelong friendship with Toyen, interrupted only by the Nazi invasion and conquest of Czechoslovakia. During the years of the occupation, Toyen's art went underground: Surrealism was another of the "Degenerate" art movements banned by the Nazis, and Toyen, though she worked throughout the war years, showed nothing. After the war, she showed her work briefly in her homeland before fleeing to Paris to escape the Stalinist takeover of her country. Back in Paris she worked until the end of her life with Breton and the French poet Benjamin Peret as well as with Czech poets, Jindrich Heisler and Jindrich Styrsky. After her death, a retrospective of her work and of her collaborations with her Czech poet-colleagues was shown at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and in the intervening years, a number of important retrospectives have been held, the most important in the summer of 2000 in Prague, which was accompanied by what will surely be the definitive catalogue of her work for some time to come, a large-format, 360 page study of the artist and her works which includes, among other items, illustrations of the twelve hand-colored impressions of the set of lithographs made after her 1939-1940 series of drawings reacting to the Nazi takeover of her country, Tir (The Shooting Gallery), a limited edition livre-de-peintre published in Paris in 1973. In this portfolio limited to 575 impressions (the first 10 exemplars containing a hand-colored set of the 12 lithographs), the artist transforms the images of the wonderland of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass into a nightmare excursion through the world as shooting gallery.

Bibliography: Andre Breton, Jindrich He, and Benjamin Peret, Toyen (Paris: Editions Sokolova, 1953). Radovan Isvic, Toyen (Paris: Editions Filipacchi, 1974), Ragnor von Holten, Toyen: En surrealistisk visionar (Koping: Lindfors Forlag, 1984), Rita Bischof, Toyen: Das malerishe werk (Frankfur: Verlag Neue Kritik, 1981), André Breton, Exposition Toyen (Paris: Galerie Denise Rene, 1947), Andre Breton et al, Toyen (Paris: Galerie Furstenberg, 1958), Ragnor von Holten, Toyen (Stockholm: Modern Musreet, 1985), Musee national d'art Moderne, Strysky, Toyen, Heisler (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1982), and Karel Srp, Toyen, translated into English by Karolina Vocadio (Prague: City Art Gallery, 2000).
Tir I / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 193), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove) for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.
Tir II / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 194), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove) for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.
Tir III / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 195), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove) for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.
Tir IV / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 196), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove) for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.
Tir V / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 197), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove) for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.
Tir VI / The Shooting Gallery (Srp 198), Lithograph after a drawing, 1939-1940. Edition: 575 impressions on various papers (ours is on Rives wove)for a numbered portfolio published in 1973, of which the first 10 impressions were hand-colored by the artist and in addition contained two original drypoints by Toyen. Image size: 320x440mm. Price: $475.

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