- Also known as
Wolfgang Robert Paalen
primary name: Paalen, Wolfgang
- individual; painter/draughtsman; journalist/critic; Austrian; Mexican; Male
- Life dates
- Prominent Austrian-Mexican surrealist painter and art critic during the early twentieth century. Born in Vienna, Paalen was raised in Sagan and Rome. His first shows appeared in Berlin before he moved to Paris in 1924. Returning to Germany in 1926 there were a number of exhibitions of his work across Europe before the Nazi crackdown on surrealist art forced him to flee to Mexico via Canada and California in 1939. In Mexico he continued to publish criticism and produce art, frequently moving addresses between Mexico and the United States. After being refused a passport in the United States he became a Mexican citizen in 1947. He comitted suicide in Taxo in 1959 following a long depression.
Paalen was an avid collector of Native American art, particularly pre-columbian Mexican, although only a few pieces have entered the British Museum's collections, including several Pomo baskets that were part of the Inverarity collection. He also collected antiquities, including several Bronze Age Cycladic marble figurines (which inspired a series of paintings and sculptural works), one of which was acquired by the museum in 2011 (GR 2011,5007.1).
- Paalen-Archiv, accessed at http://www.paalen-archiv.com/en/paalen/ on 6th July 2010
Neufert, Andreas (2015), Auf Liebe und Tod. Das Leben des Surrealisten Wolfgang Paalen (Berlin: Parthas).
Andreas Neufert (1999), Wolfgang Paalen. Im Inneren des Wals (Vienna and New York: Springer).
[Overview of his life and work, with a catalogue]
Winter, Amy 2002, Wolfgang Paalen. Artist and theorist of the Avantgarde (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger).
Winter, Amy 1992, “The Germanic reception of Native American art: Wolfgang Paalen as collector, scholar, and artist”. European Review of Native American Studies, Vol. 6, Issue. 1,, 17-26.