poet, photographer and collagist
In 1920 Magritte meets E.L.T. Mesens, his brother Paul’s piano teacher and astute intellectual who introduces the painter to the dada movement. In 1925 Mesens involves Magritte in the creation of the review Œsophage, then Marie the following year. A founding member of the surrealist group in Belgium, E.L.T. Mesens in 1928 becomes director of the gallery L’Époque in Brussels, owned by Paul-Gustave Van Hecke, couturier, poet and patron of the arts. Mesens organises a solo show for Magritte there in January 1928. In 1931 he presents an exhibition of sixteen of the artist’s canvases at the Salle Giso, in the rooms of an interior decoration firm. Following on from Camille Goemans, who had to close his Parisian gallery, in 1932 he becomes Magritte’s dealer, buying up 150 works by the artist at the forced sale of gallery Le Centaure. Mesens also introduces Magritte to the London art world, where he establishes and inaugurates The London Gallery (together with Roland Penrose), becoming the focal point for surrealist activity in the British capitol. Upon his return to Brussels, in August 1952 E.L.T. Mesens plays a key role in organising the artist’s first post-war retrospective at the casino in Knokke and at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1954. Mesens would remain one of Magritte’s most loyal friends.