Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement that attempted to uncover and express the inner workings of the human mind. Its practitioners were heavily influenced by the writings of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who stressed the importance of dreams as a gateway into the subconscious. Surrealists also idealized childhood as a time when the mind, still relatively innocent and unformed, could straddle that psychic gap more easily through imagination and play. Surrealist art frequently includes elements that are familiar but presented in unexpected ways, much as they might appear in dreams. The imagery in these paintings taps into universal human fears, passions, and delights, encouraging the viewer to respond freely and individually.

Some of the artists on view in this gallery include René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico.