Surrealists en route to Wellington

A world-famous collection of Surrealist art will be coming to Te Papa this year, including works by Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.

Salvador Dali, Couple with their heads in the clouds (credit: Fred Romero)
Dalí and the Surrealists: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen opens 5 December and runs until 26 April 2021 in Te Papa’s gallery, Toi Art.

Visitors will be able to see iconic works such as Dalí’s Mae West Lips Sofa (1938), a playfully subversive couch shaped as a lush pair of red lips, and René Magritte’s La maison de verre (1939), in which a man’s face looks out from the back of his head.

Surrealism was launched by manifesto in Paris in 1924 and brought together a group of artists and writers who saw their work as a political act.

Te Papa Head of Art Charlotte Davy says that Surrealism sought to disrupt, unsettle and provoke.

“Surrealist artists tried to create a new kind of reality which was centred around dreams, the unconscious and the irrational. They used playful, subversive techniques and materials to shock and surprise their audiences.

“Visitors will be struck by the power of Surrealist ideas which are still incredibly relevant today – both politically and as an influence on contemporary artists.”

The exhibition includes 180 pieces by all of the major Surrealist artists, none of which have ever been shown in New Zealand before. Te Papa is the only venue in the Asia Pacific region to host the exhibition.

Tickets go on sale in October. Find out more and register interest at