(b Paris, 5 Jan. 1900; d Woodbury, Conn., 15 Jan. 1955). French-born painter who became an American citizen in 1948. Whilst working at various odd jobs in Paris he began sketching café scenes that were praised by Vlaminck, and in 1923 he decided to take up art seriously after being greatly impressed by the work of de Chirico; he had no formal artistic training. In 1925 he met André Breton and joined the Surrealist group.
His work developed quickly and by the time of his first one-man exhibition, at the Galerie Surréaliste in 1927, he had already created a distinctive style. Characteristically he painted in a scrupulous technique reminiscent of that of Dalí, but his imagery is highly distinctive, featuring marine- or lunar-like landscapes whose ghostly plains are scattered with structures that suggest giant weathered bones arranged into fantastic pylons. In 1939 he met the American Surrealist painter Kay Sage in Paris; he followed her to the USA and they married in 1940. After the Second World War he built up an international reputation.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)