Dreams of Desire 46 (Simone Kahn)

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Man Ray-Simone Kahn 1927

Simone Kahn, pictured above with a Vanuatu figure was the first Mrs Breton (for details of Andre Breton second marriage see Dreams of Desire 16 (Jacqueline and Frida), was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Peru in 1897.

She married Andre in 1921 and was involved in the trance events that was instrumental in the formation of Surrealism. Andre Breton remarked that she was a living encyclopedia and was the only one of the Surrealists who had read Marx’s Das Kapital in full.

Their marriage which lasted ten years was rather turbulent, as although both believed in the idea of a Free Union, the reality was somewhat different and neither was immune from jealously. However after their divorce in 1931 and despite further marriages they continued to correspond for the next three decades.

Dreams of Desire 16 (Jacqueline and Frida)

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Jacqueline Lamba-Dans un Aquarium-Rogi Andre 1934
The above photograph is one of a series taken by Rogi Andre of Jacqueline Lamba preforming Dans un Aquarium at the Coliseum in 1934. Jacqueline Lamba was a performer and Surrealist artist who would become the second Mrs. Breton.

She accompanied Andre Breton on his visit to Mexico where he would sign with Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky the Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art. Here Jacqueline would met and begin a passionate love affair with Diego Rivera’s wife and famed artist in her right Frida Kahlo. Kahlo’s letter to Jacqueline after her return to Paris is touching:

Since you wrote to me, on that clear, distant day, I have wanted to explain to you that I can’t get away from the days, or return in time to that other time. I have not forgotten you, the nights are long and difficult. 

The water. The ship and the dock, and the parting which made you appear so small to my eyes, framed in that round port-hole, and you gazing so as to keep me in your heart. Everything is untouched. Later, came the day’s new of you.

Today, I wish my sun could touch you, I tell you, your eyeball is my eyeball, the puppets characters all arranged in their large glass rooms, belong to us both. Yours is the huipil with magenta ribbons. Mine the ancient squares of your Paris, above all, the magnificent Place des Vosges, so forgotten and so firm.

Jacqueline was the inspiration for Andre Breton’s L’amour fou and the mother of his only child, Aube. Although they divorced in 1943 they remained close. Jacqueline would sport long flowing skirts for the remainder of her life, in homage to her time in Mexico where she had worn indigenous Mexican dresses in emulation of Frida.