Štyrský and Toyen were seminal figures within the Czechoslovakian Avant-garde, exhibiting earlier on with the Devetsil group and establishing Artificialism in the late 1920s. Together with nine other participants, Štyrský and Toyen were founding members of the Czechoslovakian Surrealist group which was established in Prague on 21st March 1934.
The following year, in 1935 when Rêves was created, André Breton’s visit to Czechoslovakia, as well as Štyrský and Toyens’ visit to Paris at Breton’s invitation, marked a time of cross influence between the two countries and their Surrealist groups, allowing new collaborations to occur. Štyrský also was struck during this year with a serious illness which found him in another state of consciousness, between life and death. This he came to use this as a strong influence in his work, in line with the dominant ideas of Surrealism and its investigation of dreams and altered states of mind which may be seen strongly among the various juxtapositions within this composition.