Paul Delvaux


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Belgian painter, known for his paintings of nude or semi-clothed women in surrealist architectural settings.

The son of a lawyer, Delvaux first studied architecture and then painting at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Brussels. His early works were realistic landscapes, which by 1924 had begun to show the influence of neoimpressionism. Moving towards expressionism, he later introduced nudes and other figures into his paintings. In the 1930s, after seeing pictures by Magritte and Chirico, he adopted the style of the surrealists and by the late 1930s was contributing to major surrealist exhibitions.

During the 1940s Delvaux's work finally achieved recognition and acclaim. His paintings characteristically depicted pale ideally beautiful women, clothed or nude, dreamily standing or reclining in classical or contemporary settings with complex architecture. They conveyed a sensation of isolation and waiting, sensuality, and sadness, as in Phases of the Moon (1939). Elements of the grotesque became common in his work in the 1940s with his introduction of the skeleton theme. In 1950 Delvaux became a lecturer at the Brussels École Nationale Supérieure d'Art et d'Architecture and was later appointed to a chair in fine arts at the Belgian Royal Academy.

Subjects: Art.

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