The Surrealism Website
Different forms of Surrealism by Adam McLean

This style is characterised by the use of smooth, often flowing organic forms. It was adopted and explored in depth by Yves Tanguy - he began exploring this style in 1926 in such works as The Storm.

Yves Tanguy The Storm 1926

Joan Míro Harlequin's carnival 1924

It had appeared a few years earlier in Joan Míro, one of the forerunners of Surrealism. We see this in his Harlequin's Carnivale of 1924, where Míro had suddenly moved away from painting in Picasso-like Cubism, to a new more abstract style using rounded organic forms.

Hans Arp Clock 1914

Hans Arp Hammer Flower 1916

Another artist influencing biomorphism was Hans Arp, who, even in the Dadaist period, had been exploring this style. Arp created some coloured wood reliefs using rounded organic forms as early as 1914. He was part of the Surrealist group, but being concerned about the emergence of verism, he abandoned the surrealists in the early 1930s to focus on his non-figurative abstraction and turned more to sculpture.

Desmond Morris The Sentinel 1976

Roberto Matta Morphology 1937

Biomorphism continued to be an important strand of Surrealism, as we see in the work of Desmond Morris and Roberto Matta.

Wolfgang Paalen Ciel de pieuvre (Sky Octopus) 1938

Esteban Francis Alambradas (Barbed wire fences) 1937

We also find an elaboration of biomorphism in the paintings of Wolgang Paalen and Esteban Francis.

Vangel Naumovski Heart of Life 1971

Judit Reigl Torch of the Chymical Wedding1954

Later, we find this in the paintings of Vangel Naumovski. Biomorphism can be seen to evolve into abstract surrealism as in the 1950s paintings of Judit Reigl.