painting by Jacques HeroldTo celebrate the centenary of the surrealist artist Jacques Hérold, the Musée Cantini in Marseille presented around a hundred of his paintings, drawings and sculptures in 2011. It was the first time Hérold (1910-1987) had had a major retrospective at a French museum. logoClick here to book a hotel in Provence

The exhibition traced the Romanian-born artist's career beginning with his arrival in Paris in 1930 and his joining of the surrealists in 1934, the year he painted Crystal amoureux, pictured below.

He remained involved with the group until 1951. The show also included his late work from the 1960s, as well as photographs and Hérold's letters to his fellow surrealists.

Hérold had a special connection with Marseille: in 1940, along with other intellectuals, he fled to the South of France in the hope of obtaining a visa for the United States.

There, he lived with the community of artists that formed around Andre Bréton at the Air-Bel villa just outside the city and, with Breton, Max Ernst, Victor Brauner and others, created the Jeu de Marseille, a surrealist spin on the celebrated Tarot de Marseille.

Hérold was responsible for two cards in the set: those dedicated to Lamiel - the hero of Stendhal's last, uncompleted novel - and De Sade.

Crystal amoureux by Jacques HeroldThe artist had a particular interest in the Divine Marquis and in 1942 visited Lacoste, De Sade's château in Vaucluse; after the war, he purchased a house in the area and returned there each summer.

Some of the other work produced by Hérold during this anxious period was also included in the Cantini show, including his contributions to Exquisite Corpse, a sort of surrealist version of the game of consequences used to create collective artworks.

Alas, he failed to obtain a visa and remained in Marseille until 1943, when he had to flee after the arrival of the Germans, who began to take an ominous interest in his Jewish origins.


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