Paul Delvaux (Belgian, 1897 – 1994)
Paul Delvaux’s career developed in the shadow of Nazi Germany. It should not come as a surprise then that his work is known for a distinct sense of anxiety and unease. Surprisingly, that anxiety is not expressed in overtly political subjects. Delvaux was instead interested in exploring humanity and the hidden recesses of the subconscious. He began his artistic training studying architecture in 1916. But soon shifted his focus to painting. While he initially found inspiration in European Expressionism, his mature style was inspired by an altogether different source, the Surrealists. Although he was not an official member of the Surrealists, he shared the group’s interest in plumbing the depths of the mind. Like his contemporaries Giorgio de Chirico and Rene Magritte, Delvaux used bizarre subject matter rather than abstraction as a means of expressiveness. In so doing, he created uncomfortable scenes that were designed to emotionally shock the viewer. There is an entire museum dedicated to his work in Koksijde, Belgium who are having a retrospective of his prints for much of 2018.