Henri Michaux 1899-1984

Artist biography

Henri Michaux born 1899 [- 1984]

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.

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.514