Valentine Hugo 2
Hugo was well known in Parisian literary circles before she met the Surrealists. She played out her own myth of love ..Passionately in love with Breton in the early 1930s she copied his taste for certain objects ansd sprinkled her works with references to the poet. She did not however fit into the Breton search for the ‘ femmes-enfant’. He responded to her with courtesy and with the reserved manner of one whose emotions were not completely engaged. Hugo was already several yeard older than many of Breton’s Surrealist female companions.
Late in her life Hugo recalled the misery and despair of her separation from her husband Jean Hugo and and from the collaboration that had sustained her work during the 1920s. She believed that both Paul Eluard and Andred Breton ,whose works she had always admired , saved her from despair in her darkest moments. Their affection and admiration gave her back her self confidence, Shed went back to work thanks to them.
Ambivalence about the role of women in Surrealism reached a peak in the 1930s. The poets continued to glorify female youth and innocence in poems that rely on on woman’s image to illuminate all that is obscure in the world and in man. The painters eroticized her as a Sadean queen and the group admitted more more women into its ranks, encouraging their creative mind and holding forth an ideal of freedom in love and in work.