This is the result of fantastic collaboration between several King Baudouin Foundation philanthropists. The Vendredi review was acquired in 2012, thanks to patrons of the KBFUS, the philanthropic arm of the King Baudouin Foundation in the USA. This new edition has been made possible thanks to support from several patrons’ funds created within the Foundation.
This unusual manuscript provides us with a unique look into Belgian Surrealism in its intimacy. It came into being on the initiative of Paul Colinet, an active member of the Surrealist group in Brussels, and whose nephew lived at the time in the Belgian Congo. In this period, there were no long-distant phone calls, videos or instantaneous messaging and so it came about that one hundred issues, each of between 2 and 10 pages, were dispatched every Friday, from November 1949 to October 1951, to Robert Willems, Colinet’s nephew, and his wife Odette. The review contained texts, jokes, collages and drawings that bear witness to collaboration between the Surrealists in Belgium. In the various issues we see contributions from René Magritte, Marcel Mariën, Louis Scutenaire, Irène Hamoir, Amand Permantier, Christian Dotremont, Marcel Broodthaers and Pierre Alechinsky. The spontaneous and family nature of these collective letters make them an incomparable work.
At the request of the family of Robert Willems, who wished the review to be made accessible to the general public, the 900 or so pages have just been published as a book by Ludion. The book, which compiles all the numbers of Vendredi, has been able to be published thanks to support from the Heritage Fund and the Jacqueline Delcourt-Nonkels Fund, which supports the conservation and promotion of Belgian Surrealist heritage. The book includes an introduction, a biography of each of the contributors and scientific notes prepared by Xavier Canonne, a specialist in Belgian Surrealism.
The King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS) facilitates philanthropy from the United States to Europe and Africa. The KBFUS ART programme has already enabled donations to be made to the Royal Fine Arts Museums of Belgium, the University of Bologna and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.