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Nadja (Léona Delcourt): A tragic life after loving Breton

  • André Breton, father of the surrealist movement, was fascinated by her

This is a profile of an artist whose work is currently on show at the 'We are completely free. Women artists and surrealism' exhibition at the Picasso Museum in Malaga. Read more about it here.

She was born in Lille, but moved to Paris at the age of 20. There, she did casual jobs and was supported by several benefactors. She took the name of a famous dancer of the time, and met André Breton, father of the surrealist movement.

“He was fascinated by her. She started to do a few drawings, very simple and basic, and Breton was intrigued by them. When their relationship ended in 1927, she began to suffer hallucinations and was put into a home at the age of 25. Imagine that, in Paris in the 1920s. She ended up in an asylum for the poor and died there in 1941, when she was 35,” says José Lebrero.

“Her life was completely different to that of Carrington. It was the life of a woman who comes from an insignificant background, with no contacts or the strength of a family, or a solid financial environment.” As she had once predicted would be the case, Breton used her name as the title of an autobiographical novel.