(Belgian, 1897–1994) was a Surrealist painter, known for his depictions of female nudes. Born in Antheit in the province of Liège, Delvaux attended the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussles, studying architecture then painting under painter, muralist, and sculptor Constant Montald
During the early 1920s, he was influenced by Expressionist and Surrealist artists James Ensor
and Gustave de Smet
. In 1936, Delvaux held an exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels with René Magritte
, a fellow member of the Belgian group Les Compagnons de l’Art.
Delvaux was given solo exhibitions in 1938 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the London Gallery. That same year he participated in the Exposition internationale du surréalisme at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, organized by André Breton
and Paul Éluard
, and an exhibition of the same title at the Galerie Robert in Amsterdam. The artist visited Italy in 1938 and 1939.
Delvaux became well known for his images of nude women, characterized by their hypnotized stares and mysterious gestures, and often depicted in odd settings, including train stations and classical buildings, sometimes accompanied by skeletons, men in bowler hats, or scientists inspired by the stories of Jules Verne.
His first retrospective was held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels between 1944 and 1945. Delvaux executed stage designs for Jean Genet’s Adame Miroire in 1947, and collaborated with Eluard on the book Poèmes, peintures et dessins
, published in Geneva and Paris the following year. In 1950, he was appointed professor at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art et d’Architecture in Brussels, where he remained until 1962.
From 1965 to 1966, Delvaux served as president and director of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Belgium, and produced his first lithographs around the same time. Retrospectives of his work were held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille in 1965, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1969, and at the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1973. Also in 1973, he was awarded the Rembrandt Prize of the Johann Wolfgang Stiftung. A retrospective was then held at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the National Museum of Modern Art of Kyoto in 1975. In 1977, he became an associate member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in France.
Delvaux died in Veurne, Belgium, on July 20, 1994. Today, his works can be found in prestigious collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, and the Paul Delvaux Foundation and Museum in Belgium.