Jean Benoît

Jean Benoît, surrealist artist (b at Québec c 1922; d at Paris 22 Aug 2010). Benoît studied at the École des beaux-arts in Montréal under Alfred PELLAN.

Jean Benoît

Jean Benoît, surrealist artist (b at Québec c 1922; d at Paris 22 Aug 2010). Benoît studied at the École des beaux-arts in Montréal under Alfred PELLAN. In 1948, he signed the Prisme d'Yeux Manifesto, written by Jacques de TONNANCOUR and co-signed by 14 artists, including Pellan, Léon BELLEFLEUR, Albert DUMOUCHEL, Mimi PARENT and Jeanne Rhéaume.

Benoît left Québec with Mimi Parent in 1948 to settle in Paris, where they eventually met André Breton in 1959. From then until the official dissolution of the movement, Benoît participated in surrealist activities, bringing to them a personal touch of non-conformity and iconoclasm most evidenced in his performance "Executing the will of the Marquis de Sade," which took place at Joyce Mansour's apartment in Paris in December of 1959.

Benoît's work, praised by Breton on numerous occasions, went beyond the limits of traditional art. Neither a sculptor nor a painter, he was the creator of various objects which expressed the radical nature of his personal world view. Refusing to present his work publicly when he saw no other reason than a desire for fame, he was nevertheless featured in two exhibitions in France which stressed his artistic importance: Sauvages des villes, sauvages des îles, at the Centre for Contemporary Art at Noyers in 1992; and most importantly his first personal exhibition in October 1996 at the Galerie 1900-2000 in Paris. On this occasion an important volume by Annie Le Brun was published by the Editions Filipacchi which gave the most accurate account of Benoît's creations over the previous 50 years.


Further Reading

  • Annie Le Brun, Jean Benoît (1996); Gérard Durozoi, Histoire du mouvement surréaliste(1997).