First UK solo show for surrealist Paul Delvaux

The Belgian artist and René Magritte confidant's New York exhibition is set to travel to London next month
Paul Delvaux, L’Éloge de la mélancolie (1948)
Paul Delvaux, L’Éloge de la mélancolie (1948)




Phaidon is the world’s premier publisher of books on the visual arts. We believe passionately in the creative act and aim to make it exciting and understandable by all and to celebrate its greatness in everything we produce. We have published books with some of the most creative artists, architects, designers, photographers and chefs of the 20th and 21st centuries. We work collaboratively with the creative arts world’s most inspiring names to achieve the most faithful representation of, and the truest insight into, the way those artists and visionaries interact with the world around them – whatever medium they work in.

Check out our books


He may not have enjoyed the popularity of Salvador Dali, nor René Magritte's poppy associations, thanks to The Beatles appropriation of his Apple, yet Paul Delvaux, the 20th century Belgian surrealist painter, produced some of the most enduring and engaging, figurative artworks of the 20th century.

Indeed, some distance between Delvaux and the more famous Surrealists is to be expected. As we explain in our Surrealism book, Delvaux "wished to create a dialogue with certain historical genres of painting, 'surrealising' them." The artist's paintings, while filled with a recognisable psychosexual charge, also contained Classical and Renaissance motifs, with ancient buildings with Ingres-style nudes, depicted alongside trams and animated skeletons.


Paul Delvaux Paul Delvaux, Le Récitant (1937)

Paul Delvaux Paul Delvaux, Le Récitant (1937)

Delvaux wasn't without his prominent followers; the British writer JG Ballard paid to have two long-lost Delvaux works recreated and hung in his home. However, a monographic exhibition, currently on in New York at Blain|Di Donna and soon to travel to London, certainly feels overdue. The show, of over 20 oil paintings and works on paper from the 1930s through the 1960s, is the first monographic exhibition of Delvaux ever to go on show in Britain. The works are drawn from European museums, private collections and the Paul Delvaux Foundation. Surprisingly for a commercial gallery, it is a non-selling exhibition, and marks Blain's on-going dedication to Surrealist art, following its 2011 Magritte show and a 2012 Andre Masson exhibition.


Paul Delvaux, La Mise au tombeau III (1957)

Paul Delvaux, La Mise au tombeau III (1957)

New Yorkers can enjoy the exhibition now; it opened at Blain|Di Donna in Manhattan earlier this month, and closes on June 1 before traveling to London, where it will be on display at Blain|Southern in Mayfair from June 18 to July 17. For more on the exhibition, go here. For greater insight into Delvaux and his place in one of the 20th century's most important art movements, please consider our Surrealism book.


  • Surrealism
  • Surrealism
Surrealism is a survey of the twentieth century's longest lasting and, arguably, most influential art movement. Championed and held together by André Breton for over forty years, Surrealism was France's major avant-garde artistic tendency from 1924 onwards, rapidly spreading around the globe to become an international phenomenon.

This volume combines an authoritative survey essay, extensive colour plates and a comprehensive anthology of surrealist writings, artists' statements and criticism.



Abstract Expressionism
Conceptual Art
The Artist's Body
Art and Feminism
Art and Photography

. . Phi . . . .
. Thank you for visiting Phaidon .
. You are invited to join the Phaidon community. Subscribe and receive the latest stories and members-only discounts. .
. .