Jacques-André Boiffard  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jacques-André Boiffard (July 29, 1902 - 1961) was a medical student until 1924 when he met André Breton through Pierre Naville, a Surrealist writer, and childhood friend. From then on, Boiffard decided to dedicate himself to Surrealist research in the Bureau of Surrealist Research, writing the preface with Paul Éluard and Roger Vitrac to the first issue of La Révolution surréaliste. Preferring photography to literature, he became Man Ray’s assistant with whom he co-directed Les Mystéres du Château du Dé and L'Étoile de mer. During the 1920s, he took portraits of the English writer Nancy Cunard and photographs of Paris which Breton used to illustrate his novel, Nadja. In 1928, Boiffard was abruptly expelled from the Surrealist movement for taking photographs of Simone Breton.

From 1929 he was closely associated with Georges Bataille and Documents where his best-known work was published, illustrating articles such as Bataille’s "The Big Toe" (1929, issue 6), Robert Desnos’ "Pygmalion and the Sphinx" (1930, issue 1), and Georges Limbour’s "Eschyle, the carnival and the civilized" (1930, issue 2). In 1930 Boiffard also contributed to "Un cadavre" that attacked the surrealist leader.

He then set out on a world tour with fellow photographer Eli Lotar. Although partly financed by museologist Georges Henri Rivière and the Vicomte de Noailles the trip came to an early end in Tangiers. During the political turmoil of the 1930s Boiffard was a member of the October group led by the Prévert brothers, and he exhibited his work as part of the Association des Ecrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires.

Following his father's death in 1935 Boiffard resumed his studies to earn a doctorate in medicine in 1940 specializing in radiology, once and for all putting an end to his career as a photographer.

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