Surrealism, one of the most subversive movements of the twentieth century, provided a radical alternative to Cubism. The movement was founded in Paris in 1924, and flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, though its influence extended for several decades after.  A group of Parisian intellects, led by poet André Breton, formed the movement, which contained many characteristics similar to Dada.  Dada's revolutionary political positions, hatred for cultural tradition, and use of chance in producing works of art were important components of Surrealism as well.  The major difference between the two movements was that Surrealism's goals were more positive, seeking to combine conventional and logical reality with the unconscious, dream-like experience to create a "super-reality."  Dada, on the other hand, wanted to subvert artistic creativity.  Surrealism's "super-reality" led to the use of the term "surréalisme," which was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917.      

There were many different branches of Surrealism.  Max Ernst and André Masson preferred automatism (linked to Freudian psychoanalysis), wherein the conscious mind is suppressed, allowing the subconscious to take over.  This type of Surrealism was defined in Breton's First Surrealist Manifesto (1924), where he explains that the absence of control of the mind and reason leads to the emergence of the dream.  Differing from automatism, Salvador Dalí and René Magritte focused more on a hallucinatory sense of super-reality, where the scenes make no sense.  Although their values differed, all branches of Surrealism focused on a post-Freudian want to be free and explore the creative powers that one's mind contains.    

Surrealism's influence spread through international exhibitions, including ones in London and New York in 1936. The Second World War shifted Surrealism's center from Paris to New York, which caused the movement to lose its unity.  Despite this, its principles remained influential for many years, and its components can be specifically seen within the Abstract Expressionism movement.