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(b Lessines, 21 Nov. 1898; d Brussels, 15 Aug. 1967). Belgian painter, one of the leading exponents of Surrealism. With the exception of a three-year stay in a suburb of Paris (1927–30), he spent his entire career in Brussels, where he lived a life of bourgeois regularity (the bowler-hatted figure who so often features in his work is to some extent a self-portrait). After initially working in a Cubist-Futurist style, he turned to Surrealism in 1925 under the influence of de Chirico and by the following year had already emerged as a highly individual artist with The Menaced Assassin (MoMA, New York), a picture that displays the startling and disturbing juxtapositions of the ordinary, the strange, and the erotic that were to characterize his work for the rest of his life.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)