Moro, César 1903-1956

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Peruvian avant-garde poet and artist who lived in Paris, where he became involved with the Surrealists, and then in Mexico, where he was one of the organizers of the famed 1940 Exposición Internacional del Surrealismo.

From the description of César Moro papers, 1925-1987 (bulk 1925-1956) (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 83748398

Biographical/Historical Note

César Moro was born Alfredo Quíspez Asín on August 19, 1903 in Lima, Peru. He changed his name in 1923 to that of a character in a story by Gomez de la Serna. Two years later he joined his older brother in Paris, where he intended to become a ballet dancer, but instead began writing poetry in French and painting, both activities influenced by the Surrealist movement. During his time in Paris he participated in exhibitions and published poems in Surrealist publications. He also met and began long friendships with other artists, including Benjamín Péret, Paul Éluard, and André Breton.

Moro returned to Lima in 1933, where he continued to write and paint, and established a museum and taught art classes for the mentally ill at the Hospital Larco Herrera. He also began a long friendship and collaboration with Emilio Westphalen soon after his return to Peru. In 1935 Moro organized the first Surrealist Exposition in South America but had to leave Peru in 1938 after he and Westphalen published and distributed a clandestine pamphlet in support of the Spanish Republic. He claimed political asylum in Mexico, where he lived for the next ten years.

During his time in Mexico Moro wrote for various publications and co-organized the 1940 Exposición Internacional del Surrealismo along with André Breton and Wolfgang Paalen, which gathered works by Pablo Picasso, Agustín Lazo, and Salvador Dalí, among others. Moro also began new friendships with artists including Xavier Villaurrutia, Remedios Varo, and Leonora Carrington. In 1942 Moro published Lettre d'amour, a long poem in French. In 1943 he published his first book of poems, Le Château de Grisou .

In 1944 Moro broke with the Surrealist movement, and Breton in particular, but he continued to maintain friendships with other Surrealists living in the Americas. He also became close to Mexican artists in the Contemporaneo group, particularly Rufino Tamayo and Xavier Villaurrutia. Moro returned to Lima in 1948, where he dedicated himself to teaching at the Alianza Francesa and the Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado. He died in 1956.

From the guide to the César Moro papers, 1854-1997, 1925-1956, (The Getty Research Institute)

Relation Name
associatedWith Breton, André, 1896-1966. person
associatedWith Carrington, Leonora, 1917-2011. person
associatedWith Coyné, André, 1927-. person
associatedWith Éluard, Paul, 1895-1952. person
associatedWith Gómez-Correa, Enrique, 1915- person
associatedWith Paalen, Wolfgang, 1907-1959. person
associatedWith Péret, Benjamin, 1899-1959. person
associatedWith Rahon, Alice, 1916- person
associatedWith Rahon, Alice, 1916-1987. person
associatedWith Tamayo, Rufino, 1899-1991 person
associatedWith Villaurrutia, Xavier, 1903-1950. person
associatedWith Westphalen, Emilio Adolfo, 1911- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Latin America--Peru
Latin American
Art, Modern
Art, Modern
Art, Modern
Art and mental illness
Artists, Latin American
Surealism (Literature)
Surrealism (Literature)


Birth 1903-08-19

Death 1956-01-10



Spanish; Castilian



Ark ID: w64f1xwr

SNAC ID: 29033204