Belgian-born poet and painter who became a French citizen in 1955. Before settling in France in 1940 he led an adventurous life of travel. He began to write in 1922, did his first paintings in 1926, and took up art seriously in the late 1930s. Michaux was an independent figure and his work is richly imaginative and often mystical in feeling (he was deeply religious and the death of his wife in an accident in 1948 intensified his visionary bent). Like the Surrealists, he experimented with automatism and in the mid-1950s he began to make drawings whilst under the influence of the hallucinogenic drug mescalin to explore ‘the landscapes of the mind’.