Felix Labisse taught himself to paint and was influenced in the earlier part of his career by James Ensor, who he met in Ostend. Labisse’s early interest in Ensor, from around 1923 onwards, gave way ultimately to a more impersonal manner common among the surrealists and through which they were able to give meticulous, concrete form to a dream like universe. His paintings are a patiently executed gallery of mythological portraits, revealing his personal obsessions and the collective obsessions of the period. Labisse had a particular interest in Brazilian culture and folklore, especially Brazilian magic. He was to visit Brazil 7 times between 1950 and 1967.
As a portrait artist, Labisse is known for his famous blue women, the Selenides of 1964. He also designed stage sets and costumes for Noe (Noah) by Andre Obey at the Comedie Francais; Tandis que J’Agonise (While I die) after Faulkener for J L Barrault at the Theatre de l’Atelier; Hamlet at the Theatre Hebertot and many more.
Labisse exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries in Paris until 1944. He was a member of the Salon d’Automne and a committee member of the Salon de Mai. He also exhibited at the Salon de la Jeune Peinture Francais in Brussels in 1945, Monaco in 1946 and Vienna in 1946. He was awarded the Grand Prix International for stage sets at the Sau Paulo Biennale of 1957. Labisse also showed his work in solo exhibitions at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Sau Paulo (1950); at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1953); at the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Liege (1953); at the Musee Galliere in Paris (1962).
Further major exhibition followed in Charleroi in 1969, which took the form of a major retrospective. Further retrospectives were held in Boymans van Beunigen Museum in Rotterdam and in Ostend. A posthumous exhibition was held in 2001 at the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Menton. His work is held in various public collections in France.