Henri Michaux

1899 - 1984

Biography

Namur (Belgium), 1899 – Paris (France), 1984

Henri Michaux was born in Namur (Belgium) on 24 May 1899. He made his first forays into the world of literature while still very young. Despite his interest in medicine (studies that he gave up shortly after embarking on them) and joining the merchant marine for a while, in 1922 Michaux decided to devote himself to writing after reading Lautréamont. In 1925, he moved to Paris, where he met Jules Supervielle. It was during this time that he produced his first artworks, though he made a name for himself for his writings. During the years that followed, he wrote and travelled.

At the height of the German occupation of Paris in the 1940s, he continued to write, paint and draw. He found gouache and watercolour to be his best allies.

Between 1955 and 1960, he experimented under medical supervision with mescaline and analysed the effects that this drug had on his work. He published the conclusions of these experiments in his books Misérable Miracle (1956), L’Infini turbulent (1957) and Paix dans les brisements (1959). In 1965, the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris mounted a major exhibition of more than 250 of his works, establishing him on the international art scene.

He died on 1984.