HENRY Maurice

Maurice Henry | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books




Born in northern France, he studied in Douai, Paris and Lille. In 1927 he settled in Paris, where he enrolled in the Faculty of Law. He is in contact with a group of young poets and philosophers, with whom he founded the "Grand Jeu" movement: the game is intended as an art of living. He collaborates with the magazines "Le Rouge et le Noir" and "Paris Montparnasse". He is in contact with Robert Desnos, attends André Breton, Benjamin Péret, Louis Aragon, and then Roger Vitrac and Jacques Prévert. From 1928 he collaborates with texts, poems and drawings to the magazine of the "Grand Jeu" movement and participates in the group's exhibition at the Galerie Bonaparte in Paris. He collaborates as editor and reporter with various Parisian magazines, including Le Petit Journal, Cinemonde, Agence Haves, Revue du Cinéma, Pour Vous and Humanité.

In 1932, having exhausted the experience of the "Grand Jeu", he moved to the surrealist movement, collaborating in his publications and participating in his exhibitions. His humor veers towards the unusual and cruelty, increasingly derisory of the absurdity of everyday life, of the tragic side of common existence, to which spirit and unconscious rebel, trying to access the unobservable. Meet Salvador Dalí. Publish poems and drawings on ‘Le Surréalisme au Service de la Révolution’ ’.

In 1935 he was in Prague and participated in the surrealist exhibition in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He also began to work with ‘Konkretion’ in Copenhagen. In 1936 he participated in the first exhibition of surrealist objects at the Parisian Galerie Charles Ratton with ‘Assemblage. Tribute to Paganini '’.

In 1939 he also began working as a filmmaker, destined to last over sixteen years, during which he will screen the screenplay of twenty films. In 1949 he made the film "Rondo sur la piste" as screenwriter and director.

In 1941 he held his first personal exhibition in Paris, at the Galerie La Peau de Chagrin: the presentation was by Jean Cocteau, the first buyer was Pablo Picasso.

From 1944 he collaborated with Albert Camus to the magazine "Combat".

In 1949 he performed at the Théâtre Antoine ‘Le petit café’ by Tristan Bernard.

He took part in all the surrealist exhibitions, including the international one in 1947, at the Galerie Maeght in Paris.

In 1951, due to questions concerning the internal discipline of the group, he abandoned the surrealist movement with others, while continuing to practice his poetry, based on unsettling incongruous combinations, on dreams and psychic automatisms.

In 1955 he also developed a passion for photography; his shots are exhibited in New York, Rochester, Amsterdam and Milan. In 1957 he was elected a member of the Accademia del Jazz, the Comité des programmes of French radio and television and the Académie Charles Cros for the awarding of record awards. He spent some months in Vallauris, where Picasso taught him to work pottery.

From 1960 he approaches the "paper sculpture".

In 1963 he edited sets and costumes for a ballet at the Paris Opera, an experience he repeated in 1966 at the Städtische Bühne in Heidelberg.

From 1968 he devoted himself almost exclusively to painting, abandoning the activity of humorous draftsman. He settled in Milan. In Italy several of his important personal exhibitions take place: in Milan by Marconi and at the Annunciata, in Venice at Il Traghetto, in Turin by Viotti; an extensive anthology is presented at the Civic Hall of the Municipality of Modena.

In 1972 he edited the volume "Graphic Antology of Surrealism" for the Mazzotta Editions of Milan.

In 1976 over a hundred works were exhibited at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

He also becomes a TV personality.

On October 21, 1984, a cardiovascular collapse destroyed him in Milan, driving his car.

He is remembered in numerous personal and group exhibitions in various French and Italian cities, including the extensive anthology of 2009 at the Stelline in Milan, Credito Valtellinese Group Gallery, curated by Dominique Stella with Guido Peruz. Elda Henry, the widow, plays an important role in the memory of the artist's work.