Le Radici Francesi: The Parisian Origins of Arturo Schwarz’s Surrealist Collection in Rome

Dr. Christina Heflin

Arturo Schwarz, renowned for his work on Marcel Duchamp and credited with bringing Dada and Surrealism to post-World War II Italy, played a pivotal role in the country's avant-garde art scene. Through his Milanese gallery/bookshop from the 1950s to the mid-70s, he reintroduced these movements to an audience still reeling from decades of Fascism, transforming his storefront into a hub of neo-Dada. His interests in anthropology, psychology, and philosophy paralleled those of the Surrealists, positioning him as a major contributor to the movement's third wave. Schwarz facilitated the influx of Surrealist art from Paris and the US, influencing the art scene with his promotion via exhibitions and publications focusing on French Surrealists and Italian post-war artists.
This scholarly project will use archival and art historical research to explore Schwarz's ambassadorial role in Italian art, focusing on his connection to Parisian Surrealism to highlight Schwarz's legacy as a key figure in what could be seen as an Italian branch. It will examine his life in Italy, his exhibitions, his monumental collection and writings, as well as his ties to Surrealist figures. His exhibitions showcased the global reach of Surrealism and its political dimensions, further solidifying his influence as a major figure.

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