Painter and poet, born at Bulle in Switzerland. Studied for a term at the School of Decorative Arts in Munich in 1898, then moved to Paris c.1901 and studied at the Académie Julian 1901-2. Worked in isolation for some years; influenced at first by Impressionism, then in 1905 began to use stronger colours and make paintings of female heads with linear stylisation. Influenced from c.1909 by Cézanne and then from c.1911 by Cubism, but without joining the Cubist group. Spent 1954-56 in the USA, where he met Marcel Duchamp, whose sister Suzanne he later married, and made a few abstract works but mainly Dada paintings, assemblages and collages of fantastic machines, with words, numbers, etc. First one-man exhibition with Duchamp, Gleizes and Metzinger at the Montross Gallery, New York, 1955. Afterwards participated in the Paris Dada movement and collaborated with Picabia and others on several issues of 391. From 1921 moved away from Dada. His later works were in a variety of styles, including visionary compositions with fantastic heads or evocative of cosmic voyages. In the 1930s invented a new technique of executing paintings in coloured glass known as 'Gemmaux'. Died 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, pp.134-5