Artist biography

E.L.T. Mesens 1903-1971

Belgian Surrealist; collagist, poet, composer, dealer, exhibition organiser and collector. Born in Brussels. As a youth was a gifted composer in the tradition of Satie and Auric, but gave this up in 1923 to become a poet. Became increasingly interested in contemporary painting, especially Dada and Surrealism, and was a friend and champion of Magritte. Co-founder with Magritte, Nougé and others of the Belgian Surrealist Group 1926. Active also as gallery organiser at the Galerie de l'Epoque 1927, Galerie Mesens 1931 and for seven years at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. Belgian representative on the committee of the International Surrealist Exhibition, London, 1936. In 1938 settled in London, where he took over the direction of the London Gallery and published the London Bulletin; organised exhibitions of Ernst, Tanguy, Magritte, de Chirico, Schwitters and other Surrealists. The exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1954 of several of the early collages he had made between 1924-30 prompted him to devote himself thenceforth to collage, but incorporating colour. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Furstenberg, Paris, 1958. His Poèmes (1923-1958) published 1959. Died in London.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.507