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Marcel Mariën (1920–1993)

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Marcel Mariën was a Belgian artist, he was born in 1920 in Antwerp and died in 1993 in Brussels. During his childhood, Marcel Mariën faced big difficulties at school since he attended a school where the classes were imparted in Flemish. When he turned 15, he joined, as an apprentice, the atelier of a photographer who taught him all the foundations of photography. He joined in parallel the Superior Popular School for the workers, which led him to discover Rene Magritte’s work. A year later, he became interested in Surrealist paintings and started to write poetry. In 1937, Marcel Mariën went to Brussels to met Rene Magritte, Paul Colinet, Louis Scutenaire, Irene Hamoir and Paul Nouge. He participated for the first time in a Surrealist group exhibition, where he exposed his first object “l’Introuvable” that he created from his own broken glasses. On his return from his military service, he worked in the collective invention of Magritte and Ubac. During the war, Marcel Mariën helped healing the wounded, and then left to Dunkirk and Berck where he was taken prisoner. He was then sent to the concentration camp of Gorlitz until 1941. On his return to Brussels, he met Christian Dotremont and his wife Elisabeth. He founded the Editions “l’Aiguille Aimantee” and published several books. He participated with Scrutenaire and Nouge in the creation of the titles of Magritte’s books. In the beginning of the 40s,he made several trips to Paris, illegally transporting paintings by famous painters such as Picasso, Leger, Chirico and Renoir. Marcel published several books including the first biography of Magritte and participated in conferences about surrealism. In 1948, He settled in Brussels and lived from the profit of his books and from typing works, later on he started working on the “Silver Ocean” cargo sailing from Normandy to the French West Indies. Marcel Mariën met his wife Jane Graverol during Magritte’s first exhibition and with her he founded a communist newspaper they called ” Les Levres Nues”. Despite various deceptions, he managed to create several films including the movie “L’Imitation du Cinema” with Tom Gutt. In 1963, Marcel Mariën left to the United States.Where he worked multiple jobs.The following year, he left to Japan and then Hong Kong. He worked several months in Beijing as a proofreader of the propaganda Newspaper “China under construction” before leaving again to Europe in 1965. He came back to Belgium and published several text of Paul Nouge and Magritte. In 1967, Marcel Mariën exhibited his first collages and some objects. In 1973, he had to go in front of the justice for his past collaboration with the Nazis having participated in the creation of Leon Degrelle’s journal, but he was found innocent. In 1979, Marcel Mariën published a reference book about the history of surrealism in France. He published as well the correspondence of Scutenaire.

(the text above comes from Artsper)

www.ftn-books.com has some Marien titles available

marien z

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Felix Labisse (1905-1982)

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Felix Labisse, is for me one of the great surrealist painters from last century and i have a life long admiration for the artist and his works.

It must have been around 1970 that i visited in the company of my parents Paris. I started to grow an interest in art and limited editions because i had a membership with ARTA . a small gallery with a subscription program to buy at membership prices graphic art. My entire collection at that moment well below 5 lithographs.

Paris it was and beside the scenic neighbourhoods , museums and tourist attractions we went to shop at “galerie Lafayette”. We took the escalator and on the top floor …there it was . a true ART gallery and the first piece on show was this lithograph in a signed edition.

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I was so impressed with the lithograph that i borrowed the money with my father to buy it and since it has been in my collection. I still love the beauty of the typical Labisse female figures. It is not on the wall anymore, but is still very much appreciated as a wonderful piece of art that i cherish for being a Labisse and for being one of the first pieces of art that i ever bought.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Labisse publications available

btw. The beautiful portrait of Labisse sitting is by Brassai