French painter, illustrator and stage designer. he was of flemish and polish descent and worked in both france and belgium. On a visit to ostend in 1922 he met james ensor, whose lifelong friendship he later commemorated in bonjour m. ensor (1964; ostend, mus. s. kst.). In 1927 he set up his studio in ostend, where he was associated not only with ensor but also with constant permeke and léon spilliaert, and with the poets henri van de putte, jean teugels and michel de ghelderode, and the film maker henri storck.
He was self-taught and strongly influenced at first by ensor. He sought to render both his own poetic reveries and the preoccupations of modern life through a technique of smoothly painted and strongly outlined violent colours. He specialized in images of a particular type of woman, at once strangely sensual and cold, whom he painted in blue and other exaggerated hues and who haunted his pictures like a mythical goddess, as in on the other side of the grape-harvest month (1980; ghent, priv. col.). In 1928 he and storck founded the ciné club in ostend, which disseminated avant-garde films by man ray, carl dreyer and fritz lang, and he made a film of his own, la mort de vénus . In 1930 he founded the literary review tribord , which ran to eight issues; collaborators included max jacob, franz hellens and jean teugels.