0296 Paolo Uccello in French Surrealism: Doubling Antonin Artaud

  • Tessel M. Bauduin (Author)
    University of Amsterdam

    Dr Tessel M. Bauduin originally trained as a medievalist but has specialized in (the art and culture of) modernism and the avant-garde for over fifteen years. At the University of Amsterdam, Dr Bauduin teaches Art History, Cultural Studies, Museum and Heritage Studies, and Provenance and Restitution Research. Bauduin’s main area of research is Surrealism; current research projects focus on: global Surrealism, for instance in the Dutch Caribbean and Indonesia; the decolonization of museum collections, especially modern(ist) collections, by using surrealist anticolonial theory and art practice; and the provenance of surrealist and related collections and works. Bauduin also studies the interaction of modern art and occultism in the long twentieth century, and several of her publications concern the artist Hilma af Klint. In 2015, Bauduin was awarded a four-year VENI research grant from the Dutch Research Council for a project on the reception and appropriation of Early Modern European art in Surrealism. The Leverhulme Foundation has awarded Bauduin a Visiting Professorship at Edinburgh College of Art in 2023. She has been a member of the board of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism since 2022.

Identifiers (Article)


In the 1920s and '30s the fourteenth-century Italian artist Paolo Uccello was appropriated as a precursor of Surrealism in the French surrealist discourse. Pivotal were two texts, a mini-play and an essay, that the playwright Antonin Artaud, then in his surrealist phase, dedicated to Uccello between 1924 and 1926. This article analyses both texts and shows the construction, by Artaud, of Uccello as his potential double, and especially as someone dedicated to mind over matter, a key facet of Uccello’s reception as a fellow traveler of Surrealism. It identifies an artwork ascribed to Uccello, discussed by Artaud and thought imaginary, as a panel currently in the Louvre. Finally, it shows that an imagined biography of the artist by the symbolist writer Marcel Schwob forms the key hypotext for Artaud and other surrealists, with strong echoes of Vasari’s vita of Uccello, which was in turn Schwob’s hypotext.


Surrealism, Avant-garde, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Schwob, Paolo Uccello, Quattrocento