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The Surrealists and the Surreal Masks

The French artist André Breton once owned the Alaskan wooden mask (ca. 1890–1910) that Di Donna gallery paired alongside one of Francis Picabia’s monster paintings in its themed booth at TEFAF. Surrealist artists long admired these Yup’ik masks from the central Alaskan coast, which were made in the hopes of divining bountiful hunts, according to gallery director Christina Floyd Di Donna. Breton, Man Ray, and Yves Tanguy all collected the masks beginning in 1934. “They saw it as Surrealism from another time and place,” she said. An extended exhibition of Surrealist painting paired with Yup’ik masks, titled “Moon Dancers,” is on view through June 29 at Di Donna’s gallery in New York.

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