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We recently have been diving into the surrealist world and work of Edward James.

Eccentric, poet and traveller, British born Edward James (1907 – 1984) dedicated his life to the surrealist movement.

In the 1940’s he embarked on a journey to find wild orchids in the dense jungles of Mexico. His other reasoning was clear, that he; “wanted a Garden of Eden set up . . . and I saw that Mexico was far more romantic” and had “far more room than there is in crowded Southern California”. In Cuernavaca, he hired Plutarco Gastelum, then a young manager of a telegraph office, as a guide. With his help the two stumbled across Xilitla in November 1945. A deserted 80-acre coffee plantation in the depths of the Huastecan jungle.

We know it today as Los Pozas (“the pools”). A bewildering surrealist sculpture garden, playing host to over 36 concrete sculptures.

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“I have seen such beauty as one man has seldom seen;

therefore will I be grateful to die in this little room,

surrounded by the forests, the great green gloom

of trees my only gloom – and the sound, the sound of green.

Here amid the warmth of the rain, what might have been

is resolved into the tenderness of a tall doom

who says: ‘You did your best, rest’ – and after you the bloom

of what you loved and planted still will whisper what you mean.

And the ghosts of the birds I loved, will attend me each a friend;

like them shall I have flown beyond the realm of words.

You, through the trees, shall hear them, long after the end

calling me beyond the river. For the cries of birds

continue, as – defended by the cortege of their wings –

my soul among strange silences yet sings.”

-Edward James.

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Not to be Reproduced, a portrait of Edward James by René Magritte

Edward was a true patron of the arts. The Construction of Las Pozas alone, cost more than $5 million. To pay for it, James sold his collection of Surrealist art at auction. It was this kind of dedication that Edward is known and respected for, a man who had a vision and the courage to pursue it.