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Art Adventures: A Surrealist Pop-up Book Collection

By Alexander Hankin  | September 24, 2018 | Lifestyle

Perhaps one of the most exciting things happening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall is the release of an unconventional pop-up book that celebrates the surrealist collection of Judith Young-Mallin. The collection came to the museum as a gift from Young-Mallin in 2015, and included over 1500 works of art, prints, audio, photographs, and books from her Greenwich Village loft, that at one time acted as a living museum.


Her collection represents one of the greatest private compilations of scholarly works of surrealist art. It includes unique items relating to such artists as Marcel Duchamp, Maya Deren, Leonora Carrington, and Man Ray. The Library and Archives Department has worked diligently over the last three years to produce this unique book that highlights the Young-Mallin collection.

One of the highlights of Young-Mallin collection is the beautiful doll house. Made in a Nantucket grey and white clapboard style, the doll house itself was commissioned over forty years ago and contains elements of many surrealist artists. The outside of the house pays tribute to the Rene Magritte’s surrealist paintings of Night and Day, while the front door takes a female form that is present in much of Magritte work. The three stories insider were a design collaboration of Man Ray, Florine Stettheimer, Ted Muhling, Virgil Thomson, Leonora Carrington, Dame Darcy, William Copley and House of Heydenryk.


In addition to the doll house, there are numerous books and photographs of note including one taken by Man Ray entitled “Friends Gathering at Max Ernst House”. The photo is believed to depict Bill Copley, Julie Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning all at the Ernst residence in Sedona which would become the epicenter of American Surrealist art.

To bring his project to life the Library and Archives department partnered with the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Young Friends funded the project through three separate grants to allow for the archiving and production of this unique book. Like the Young-Mallin doll house, this book two represents a collaborate effort across the Philadelphia Museum of Art to preserve and bring this important surrealist collection to the public in a manner befitting the collection itself.


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