| Delvaux, Paul Biography
Paul Delvaux was a s Belgian Surrealist painter, whose canvases portray transfixed humans in a mysterious time and place, dreamlike images of entranced figures in imaginary landscapes are characterized by deep, sometimes nonrational space; an eerie, unnatural light; and figures that draw on classical models yet appear intentionally stiff or naive. The figures, typically female nudes, seem to be sleepwalking: present, but in a kind of trance. Their glowing bodies and the world they inhabit both seduce and disturb. A representative Delvaux painting is The Echo (1943), in which three somnambulistic nudes walk in tandem past dead temples, as if walking through time.
Born in Antheit, Belgium, Paul Delvaux studied architecture at the Academie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) in Brussels in 1916 and 1917 and began taking art classes at night in 1920, after completing his military service. At first, Delvaux painted forested landscapes in a realistic style, but he began to develop his mature style in 1926, after seeing the haunting cityscapes of Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.
Members of the surrealist movement, which sought to tap into dreams and subconscious processes, influenced Paul Delvaux as well, and he exhibited with them during the 1930s and 1940s. For inspiration he also looked to artists as diverse as Italian Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca, French neoclassical painter J. A. D. Ingres, and Belgian expressionist James Ensor.
A museum dedicated to Delvaux's oil paintings opened in Saint-Idesbald, Belgium, in 1982.
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