S A R A N E   A L E X A N D R I A N

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Madeleine Novarinahttp://www.madeleine-novarina-eng.com/MN_Eng/Presentation.html

Sarane Alexandrian's texts on art are mainly monographs (on Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, Pieter Bruegel, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Ljuba, Jean Hélion, Jacques Hérold, Gustave Moreau,  Madeleine Novarina, Man Ray, Georges Seurat...) as well as books on Surrealism and painting (La Peinture en Europe au XVIIIème siècle, La Peinture impressionniste de a à z, Les Maîtres de la lumière, Le Cubisme de a à z, L'Art surréaliste, Dictionnaire de la peinture surréaliste – painting in Europe in the 18th Century; impressionist painting from a to z; the masters of light; Cubism from a to z; surrealist art; dictionary of surrealist painting).

Texts on ArtTexts_on_Art.html

Some of Sarane Alexandrian's essays ⎯ such as André Breton par lui-même (Seuil, 1971) or Histoire de la littérature érotique (Seghers, 1983) ⎯  have been translated in some fifteen languages. In the biography Christophe Dauphin dedicated to him (L'Âge d'homme 2006), he observed that as part of his body of work, Le Surréalisme et le rêve (Gallimard, 1974), Le Socialisme romantique (Seuil, 1979), and Histoire de la philosophie occulte (Seghers 1983) form “a trilogy celebrating the real powers of imagination and intuition”. Alexandrian also wrote three essays on sexuality: Le Doctrinal des jouissances amoureuses (Filipacchi, 1997), La Magie sexuelle (La Musardine, 2000) and La Sexualité de Narcisse (Le Jardin des livres, 2003).

Sarane Alexandrian defined his novels as “mental adventures” and explained that some parts were written under self-hypnosis. They are based on the principle of the “metaphor in action”. Danger de vie (Danger of Life) (Denoël, 1964), L'Œuf du monde (The Egg of the World) (Filipacchi, 1975), Les Terres fortunées du songe (The Fortunate Lands of the Dream) (Galilée, 1980), and Le Grand astrosophe (The Great Astrosoph) (Joëlle Losfeld, 1994) bear his taste for the marvellous and the oneiric, as well as numerous references to thinkers that were dear to him  such as Cornelius Agrippa, André Breton, Aleister Crowley and Charles Fourier.


In 1948, with Victor Brauner, Jindrich Heisler, Véra Hérold, Stanislas Rodanski and Claude Tarnaud, Sarane Alexandrian founded the first  postwar surrealist journal, Néon. In 1995 he launched a second journal, Supérieur Inconnu, with the writer Alain Jouffroy and the poet Jean-Dominique Rey.

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The archives of Sarane Alexandrian and his wife Madeleine Novarina  are being kept at the IMEC, France.

Art historian, essayist and novelist, Sarane Alexandrian was born in 1927 in Bagdad and died in 2009 in Paris. From 1933 he was raised in France and he took part in the Résistance in the Limousin area from the age of sixteen. Around the same time, he was introduced to Dadaism by Raoul Hausmann and published his first poems in a collective compendium named Couronnes de vent (wind crowns). After studying psychology at the Sorbonne University art history at the École du Louvre, he befriended André Breton in 1947, during a lecture by Tristan Tzara on Surrealism and the post-war era held at the Sorbonne.

Alexandrian then took part in the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, organised at the Maeght Gallery in 1947 and he published the Poésie et objectivité (poetry and objectivity) manifest in the Fontaine journal, which led him to be regarded as the “theoretician of surrealism  number two”. André Breton appointed him editor of Cause, with Georges Henein and Henri Pastoureau, to handle the massive flux of young candidates from around the world wishing to join the surrealist group. In 1948 he met the painter Madeleine Novarina, who was to become his wife in 1959 and founded the Néon journal with Victor Brauner, Jindrich Heisler, Véra Hérold, Stanislas Rodanski and Claude Tarnaud.

In 1948, Victor Brauner and Sarane Alexandrian protested against the exclusion of Matta from the surrealist group and consequently left the group too. Sarane Alexandrian then dedicated himself to writing novels, art monographs and essays. A close friend of the painter Victor Brauner (who nicknamed him « le Grand Cri-chant du Rêve » – the great Scream-Chant of the dream). Alexandrian dedicated his first book to him, Victor Brauner l'illuminateur (Les Cahiers d'Art, 1954). From 1962 to 1974, he worked as an art critic, successively for l'Œil, Arts and Connaissance des Arts. He also worked as a literary critic for Express from 1975 to 1980. He died in 2009, a few days before the launch in New York and Paris of his latest book, Les Peintres surréalistes (the surrealist painters) (Anna Graham, 2009). Sarane Alexandrian wrote twenty four books on art, fourteen philosophical and literary essays, six novels, two collections of short stories and he directed the Néon and Supérieur Inconnu journals.


In 1990, Sarane Alexandrian wrote his autobiography, L’Aventure en soi (Adventure in (it)self). In 2006, Christophe Dauphin wrote his biography, entitled Sarane Alexandrian ou le grand défi de l’imaginaire (Sarane Alexandrian or the Great Challenge of the Imagination).


Previously unreleased photos, letters, manuscripts and drawings by Victor Brauner, André Breton, Malcolm de Chazal, Jean Hélion and Madeleine Novarina.