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He was born in Brussels. In 1944 he attended the l'Ecole nationale supÃ©rieure d'Architecture et des Arts dÃ©coratifs de La Cambre, Brussels where he studied illustration techniques, printing and photography. In 1945 he discovered the work of Henri Michaux, Jean Dubuffet and developed a friendship with the art critic Jacques Putman. In 1949 he joined Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn to form the art group Cobra. He participated both the Cobra exhibitions and went to Paris to study engraving with Stanley William Hayter in 1951. In 1954 he had his first exhibition in Paris and started to become interested in oriental calligraphy. His paintings are related to Tachisme, Abstract expressionism, and Lyrical Abstraction.
By 1960 he had exhibited in London, Berne and at the Venice Biennial, and then in Pittsburgh, New York, Amsterdam and Silkeborg as his international reputation grew. He worked with Walasse Ting and continued to be close to Christian Dotremont. He also developed links with AndrÃ© Breton. His international career continued throughout the seventies and by 1983 he became Professor of painting at the Ãcole nationale supÃ©rieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Free University of Brussels, and in 1995 one of his designs was used on a Belgian stamp.
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