Belgian-born French poet, draughtsman and watercolourist. Born in Namur, Belgium. Brief experiences 1919-20 as a student of medicine and a sailor. Began to write in 1922 after reading Lautréamont. Moved to Paris in 1924. Discovered painting (Klee, Ernst, de Chirico) in 1925, and in 1926-7 made his first paintings and drawings. Travelled widely in South America, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, etc. in 1927-37; wrote poems and travel diaries, and made a few drawings. Began to paint and draw regularly in 1937-9, and his work as a painter and writer from then on developed in parallel. First one-man exhibition at the Librairie-Galerie de la Pléiade, Paris, 1937. The death of his wife in 1948 as the result of a terrible accident intensified his tendency towards a visionary Expressionism. Made his first drawings in India ink in 1950-1, with a profusion of forms in movement. Began to experiment with mescalin in 1955 and made a number of drawings under its influence. His poems are noted for their extraordinary fantasy and bitter humour. Lives in Paris.
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.514