K. A. Wisniewski

Marcel Lecomte

Marcel Lecomte

marcel_lecomte

Correspondence: Paul Nougé, Marcel Lecomte, & Camille Goemans, c. 1928.

Marcel Lecomte (1900-1966) is one of the forgotten fathers of Belgian surrealism.  While he would go on to publish several collections of poetry in his lifetime (and two more post-humously), Lecomte is best known as a journalist and critic, writing a large number of essays, art reviews, and political columns and pamphlets throughout his life.  Born in Brussels, he was raised during the turbulence of the Great War and, as a student, witnessed the birth of the dada movement launched by Tristan Tzara.  By the 1920s, surrealism, and its rejection of traditional modes of thought and forms of art, was reaching its apex.  A young Lecomte followed suit publishing a poetry collection entitled Demonstrations in 1922.

Two years later, he would attempt to lead a sect of the movement, founding a group named Correspondence with Paul Nougé and Camille Goemans; the group would publish pamphlets critiquing art, literature, and politics.  Although he was expelled from the group in 1925, that same year Lecomte would see the publication of his second book of poems, Applications, a work that showcased two drawings from his friend, artist René Magritte.  In 1940, he participated in The Invention Collective, a group founded by Magritte and Raoul Ubac.

For the remaining forty years of his life, Lecomte would remain productive, dipping into a variety of projects and genres, but largely focusing on essays, which appeared in journals such as Le Rouge et the Noir, Synthèses, Le Journal des Poètes, and Le Journal des Ingénieurs, and writing for his weekly column in La Laterne.


En 1918, Marcel Lecomte rencontre Clément Pansaers qui lui fait découvrir le dadaïsme ainsi que le taoïsme. Il s’inscrit alors à l’Université libre de Bruxelles pour des études préparatoires à une licence en philosophie et lettres, études qu’il abandonne en 1926.

En 1922, il publie Démonstrations, aux Éditions “Ça ira” à Anvers. Au début de la même année, il rencontre René Magritte et, en 1923, Paul Nougé. Avec celui-ci et Camille Goemans, il fait partie, en 1924 et 1925, du groupe Correspondance. Il en est congédié en juillet 1925.  Son deuxième recueil de poèmes, Applications, comprend deux dessins de son ami, l’artiste René Magritte.  En 1940, il participe à L’Invention collective, dirigée par Magritte et Raoul Ubac.

En 1926, il collabore au premier numéro de la revue Marie, dirigée par E. L. T. Mesens. En 1928, il retrouve Goemans, Nougé et Mesens dans la revue DistancesIl a continué à écrire de la poésie, des essais et des critiques pour le reste de sa vie. Ils sont apparus dans des revues, y compris Le Rouge et the Noir, Synthèses, Le Journal des Poètes, Le Journal des Ingénieurs, et La Laterne.

En avril 1960, Marcel Lecomte est attaché aux Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.

 

For Further Reading:

“Marcel Lecomte,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

A List of my Lecomte Translations can be found here.

A portrait of Lecomte: Rene Magritte’s Souvenir de Voyage III (1955).

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