Belgian Surrealist painter. Born at Lessines. Studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels 1916-18, and settled in Brussels. Made his living for a time by designing wallpaper and drawing fashion advertisements. Became very friendly with poets and writers such as Mesens, Goemans, Scutenaire and Nougé, who shared his interest in evoking mystery and were later the founders of the Belgian Surrealist group. Turned away from his early Cubist-Futurist experiments in 1925 under the influence of de Chirico; began to explore ways of creating a poetic, disturbing effect by depicting recognisable objects in alien settings, by startling juxtapositions or combinations of objects, by inversions of scale and so on. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Le Centaure, Brussels, 1927. Afterwards lived from 1927-30 at Perreux-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, where he met Miró, Arp, Tanguy, Dali, Buñuel, Eluard and Breton. In 1930 returned to Brussels, where he spent the rest of his life. A cycle of murals, 'The Enchanted Domain', was painted from his designs in the Casino at Knokke in 1951-3, and eight sculptures were made under his supervision in 1967 from themes in his paintings. Died in Brussels.
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.460