Mario Cesariny

Mario Cesariny, by Carlos Botelho
Mario Cesariny, by Carlos Botelho

Portuguese Surrealist poet, painter, and playwright Mario Cesariny passed away on November 19, 2006 in Lisbon, at the age of 83.

He met Andre Breton in Paris in 1947, was greatly influenced by the French Surrealists, and was part of the Surrealist Group, and later Dissident Surrealist Group, in Portugal.

Thanks to Rik Lina for providing the impetus for this page.

To contribute thoughts, memories, photos, or other material for this page, please get in touch with Denise.

Carlos Martins writes:

As mostly of you certainly remember Mário Cesariny and I, we organized the international exhibition “Surrealismo e Pintura
Fantástica” in Lisbon (December, 1984). (1)

Then I was young and Mario was already ill and tired but when i visited him to challenge him to help me with that project (the larger in participations ever occurred in Portugal about Surrealism), he firstly hesitated because he don’t trusted in very young artists since mostly searched him to wink some sort of notoriety. After some further conversations he finally agreed and some months later the exhibition took place at the “Teatro Ibérico”, with the cooperation from Edouard Jaguer and the “Phases” mouvement.

However we had some troubles mainly caused by the interference of the responsibles of financial support for relevant cultural events at the Ministry of Culture. Those responsibles tried to impose some changes on the catalogue conception and mainly with the inclusion of texts and images from other poets and painters not in any way related with Surrealism. I was then in charge to talk with them for getting that financial support and for sometimes i had to speak loud against these intentions. The catalogue finally was published and appeared during the exhibition without any sign of censorship but we had to hardly fight against it even a decade after the democratic revolution in 1974.

Most in here (2) and particularly some publishers and those opposed to Surrealism (this intended to be a libertarian movement and not only a literary or aesthetical vanguardism), always tried to obliterate that event and the importance of the
catalogue. It was never re-edited and now is rarely found at the antiquaries and old bookstores.

(1) Ted Joans was also represented with extracts of letters to André Breton at the b/w Catalogue.

(2) With the exception of a letter i wrote and was published by the weekly “Expresso” and a letter Mário published at the newspaper “Diário de Notícias”, these incidents never were mentioned despite the consequences of them even into our own lives (i was dismissed from the firm i worked in that time and my wife Ana was forced to leave the company where she played as the main actress).

Carlos Martins
calling from Lisbon, Portugal