E.L.T. Mesens collected, supported, and
promoted the work of surrealist artists and writers. The archive comprises comprehensive
documentation of the Belgian surrealist's career as gallery director, editor, publisher,
critic, musician, poet, and artist. Most significant are ca. 3,500 letters (1918-1971) to
and from artists, musicians, writers, dealers, and others prominent in the art world, and
ca. 800 photographs documenting art that Mesens exhibited or sold.
Edouard Léon Théodore Mesens (born in Brussels, 1903 November 27) is probably best known
for his ardent support and promotion of surrealist art, particularly artists in the
Surrealist movements in Belgium and England. In his capacity as a gallery director, curator,
collector and publisher, Mesens mounted significant exhibits in both countries, bought and
sold works by little-known artists, introduced artists to other dealers, and published the
work of writers and artists. His favorite artist was Magritte, whose work Mesens championed
as early as 1920 when they met at an exhibit. Despite their difficult relationship, Mesens
promoted Magritte consistently and amassed a large collection of his work.
12 Linear Feet
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