Portrait of a Muse of Surrealism


This text, by Chantal Vieuille, is the first ever biography of Nusch Eluard, whose life is recorded in the form of many photographs, paintings and drawings. It finally rescues from relative obscurity a major figure of the Surrealist movement.

Born at Mulhouse in 1906, she died alone from a stroke in Paris in 1946. Nicknamed Nusch by her father, she was the second wife of the surrealist poet Paul Eluard.

Lead by André Breton, along with Paul Eluard and their circle of friends, Surrealism was the meeting point of many poets, painters, sculptors, in France, Europe and United States. Among this intimate circle, however, only few women would achieve recognition as artists. The women celebrated by the Surrealists appeared as extraordinary figures: woman-child, fairy, Melusine, Muse, mind reader, prostitute, and liberated woman ready to invent new forms of love. Nusch Eluard embodied each of these aspects.
As the lover of Paul Eluard and a friend of Picasso, who painted several of portraits of her (among them some of his best works), Nusch also served as a model for photographers Man Ray, Dora Maar, Brassaï, Penrose, and Lee Miller.

A woman of extraordinary simplicity, free of all ambition, Nusch dedicated her life to love and became, despite herself, the immortal inspiration of the poet and an emblematic figure of Surrealism.

Full page B&W photographs by: Man Ray, Brassaï, Cartier Bresson, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, Roland Penrose…  

Portraits by: Picasso, Magritte and Miró, plus collages of Nusch.

The author

Chantal VIEUILLE is a Doctor of French literature.  She has written several works and leads a parallel career of freelance editor since 1990.

Rights sold

  • Spain : Circe
  • Publisher in France : ArteLittera
  • Date : 2010
  • Format : Paperback, 128 pages
  • Genre : Art History, biography