André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Yves Tanguy – Cadavre exquis, 1938
The Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse) was a favourite surrealist game from the mid-1920s
onwards. It usually involved three or four participants who added to a drawing, collage or
sentence, without seeing what the others had already done. Made by André Breton, his
second wife Jacqueline Lamba, and Yves Tanguy, while on a weekend holiday together
in February 1938.
The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game,
“Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.” (“The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”)
André Breton writes that the game developed at the residence of friends in an old house at
54 rue du Chateau (no longer existing). In the beginning were Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp,
Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Péret, Pierre Reverdy, and André Breton. Other participants
probably included Max Morise, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Simone Collinet, Tristan Tzara,
Georges Hugnet, René Char, and Paul and Nusch Éluard.
Henry Miller often partook of the game to pass time in French cafés during the 1930s.