The Figueres Toy Museum houses a collection of dolls by André Breton's daughter

The Figueres Toy Museum houses a collection of dolls by André Breton's daughter

The doll collection of André Breton's daughter, the new “jewel” of the Figueres Toy MuseumToy Museum of Catalonia

In the heart of Figueres, on the Rambla, we find a special place, The universe that transports us to childhoodWhich at the same time allows us to travel through time: Toy Museum of Catalonia. Located at headquarters Old Paris hotelThe facility has a large selection of toys, games and other items. The assortment has now been expanded with the addition of 35 Dolls belonging to Andre Breton's daughterthe main engine of the Surrealist movement.

The dolls represent different characters and They are made of painted clay, tissue paper and wire. The surrealist writer and his wife, the painter Jacqueline Lamba, bought it during their five-month stay in Mexico, where they stayed at Frida Kahlo's house. His daughter, Aube Breton, has kept it until now and donated it to the Toy Museum Display in a designated area on the first floor of the permanent exhibition.

Dolls with history

As we said, the dolls were purchased by the couple formed by Andre Breton and Jacqueline Lamba during a five-month stay in Mexico. It was 1938. The couple traveled there because Breton had been commissioned by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give several lectures on art and literature.

I stayed at the muralist's family home Diego Rivera and painter Frida Kahlo in Mexico CityDuring this stay Breton met the communist leader Lev Trotsky, whom he greatly admired. Trotsky had been a refugee in the country since the beginning of 1937 thanks to Rivera's arrangements and was staying with his family at Casa Azul (now the Frida Kahlo Museum), owned by Kahlo.

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Doll from the collection.

Mexico impressed Britton, and in fact, as they explained from the museum, the writer considered it “The surreal place par excellence“Breton also declared himself an admirer of the painter Frida Kahlo, who in his view embodied the ideal of the Surrealist woman and thus advertised his art, although Kahlo considered the writer arrogant and too intellectually dazzling.

A few weeks after his arrival in Mexico, Breton met Trotsky, with whom he held dozens of meetings in which politics, literature and art were discussed. Hence the statementFor independent revolutionary art“, written by Trotsky and Breton and also signed by Rivera. The three couples toured the country and traveled to various sites such as Toluca, Cuernavaca, Calixtelawaca, Guadalajara, Michoacan, the Pupacatepetl volcano and the Xochicalco pyramids, among other places. In Rivera's company André Breton acquired pre-Hispanic characters It collected votive offerings and other items of folk art such as masks, ceramics, frames, dolls, etc.

Doll from the collection.

Bought on the market

The collection of dolls now on display at the Toy Museum was acquired by Jacqueline Lamba and Frida Kahlo. Maybe in a market in Mexico City. The two artists struck up a deep friendship, partly because they were systematically excluded from the theoretical and academic discussions Breton, Rivera, and Trotsky had during their meetings.

In a letter that forms part of Frida Kahlo's memoirs, written in 1939 and which she never managed to send to Jacqueline Lamba, she mentions the dolls, some of which she had and others that were in Breton and Lamba's Parisian home. Here, as his daughter Aube Breton recalls, They were part of the couple's bedroom decoration.

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In January of that year, Kahlo traveled to Paris at Lamba's invitation to organize an exhibition of her work, organized by Breton at the Renaud and Cole Gallery. In this work, Kahlo's works They are displayed with elements of folk art acquired by Breton and Lamba in Mexico. At the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan, Mexican Federal District, a collection of similar dolls is displayed in a stage created by Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo and Jacqueline Lamba in Patzcuaro, Michoacan (Mexico), Lani 1938.

The Catalonia Toy Museum reopened its doors on March 15, once the second phase of renovation work was completed. The work, commissioned by the city council, began in January and involved updating and adapting some materials to current fire regulations.

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