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Isidore Ducasse was a nineteenth-century author better known by his pseudonym, the Comte de Lautréamont. This work was inspired by Ducasse’s famous phrase: ‘As beautiful as the chance meeting, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella’. The Surrealists saw this simile, describing the surprising conjunction of disparate elements, as a model for Surrealist images in art and poetry. Man Ray used a real sewing machine as the wrapped object. The original example, now lost, was exhibited in the 1936 Surrealist exhibition of objects.

November 2012