The effect of two years' living in New York and his awareness of the developments in Abstract Expressionism can be clearly seen in Paul-Émile Borduas' Souriante. Earlier in his career, Borduas had been greatly influenced by the writings of André Breton and the work of the Surrealists. From 1944-47 he gathered a group of artists around him, now known as Les Automatistes, and promoted the idea of freely expressing the unconscious mind through painting. His experience in New York, however, greatly affected his approach to art-making. Borduas credited the Abstract Expressionists with finally freeing painting from the objective world, and for making art that he saw as accidental.