Paul DELVAUX (1897 - 1994)

Born in 1897 in Antheit (Belgium), died in 1994 in Furnes (Belgium).

Paul Delvaux was a Belgian post impressionist, expressionist and finally surrealist painter.

During his childhood, Paul Delvaux was under the influence of his authoritarian and possessive mother and developed a fear of women and the female world.
His best friend, Emile Salkin, also a renowned painter, also influenced him. Together they made a habit of going to the Brussels Natural History Museum and drawing the skeletons on display.
His bourgeois family background remained reticent about the young Paul Delvaux's taste for painting, but he accepted the path of architecture at the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts (1916-1917).
After his studies, he produced post-impressionist and then expressionist paintings influenced, in particular, by James Ensor. However, with each change of inspiration, Paul Delvaux destroyed his paintings (1920-24). Paul Delvaux never liked labels and classifications. For him, each artist was unique, irreducible to a system, a school, an "ism" movement.

But it was when he discovered a painting by Giorgio De Chirico, "Melancholy and Mystery of a Street", during the surrealist exhibition "Minotaure" at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1934) that Delvaux had the "revelation" of surrealism.
Magritte, Ernst, Dali and above all Chirico made him aware of a new universe where rationality, conventions and prohibitions were, if not abolished, diverted by the paths of poetry, imagination and symbolism, and through which Delvaux found both an outlet for his anxiety and a faithful mirror of his inner discourse.

Although he never really joined the Surrealist movement, he nevertheless took part in the great International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris in 1938.
His work was above all marked by a very personal style. In addition to the trains and railway stations, the historical ruins, the arid industrial world and the skeletons that sometimes haunt his paintings, he projects onto his canvases the image of mysterious women with distant gazes and immensely large eyes, giving rise to a certain anxiety.
And a set of 'signs' usually completes this dreamlike world: columns, knots, skulls, trees or mirrors. Delvaux is attracted to mysterious objects, which he places in a disturbing universe.

The unusual universe created by Paul Delvaux is poetic and erotic, a universe of "magic realism" where desire is the law. He also created compositions of religious inspiration.
Paul Delvaux painted the murals of the Casino-Kursal in Ostend, but also those of the Zoology Institute in Liège and the Palais des Congres in Brussels.

Paul Delvaux received a noble favour from the King of the Belgians but did not follow it up.
The village of Saint-Idesbald in the Flemish commune of Coxyde, on the Belgian coast, where he lived for a long time since 1945, has dedicated a museum to him since 1982, where a series of paintings characteristic of his artistic development can be admired.
Paul Delvaux died on 20 July 1994 in Veurne, where he had moved in 1969. He is buried in the town's cemetery.

"I would like to paint a fabulous picture in which I would live, in which I could live."
Paul Delvaux


Le Canapé

43 x 55 cm

Ink on paper


La Conversation

40 x 50 cm

India ink and watercolour on paper


Les derniers Beaux jours

65 x 50 cm

16 gravures sur papier japon d'après des dessins originaux de 1948 réhaussées par Paul Delvaux en 1978 ED de 20 signées et numérotées. Série N° 4/20



65 x 50 cm

16 gravures sur papier japon d'après des dessins originaux de 1948 réhaussées par Paul Delvaux en 1978 ED de 20 signées et numérotées. Série N° 4/20


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