Dotremont and the Surrealists – A Wartime Youth (1940-1948)

The exhibition is presented at the BELvue Museum in Brussels between 26 November 2019 and 9 February 2020.

Christian Dotremont, the founder of the post-war Cobra art movement and creator of ‘logograms’, began his career on the eve of the Second World War. At the age of seventeen, he became a member of the Brussels Surrealists, led by René Magritte. The Occupation, into which they were plunged shortly after the start of the war, meant that those surrealists who had not fled into exile struggled to continue their artistic activities.

Dotremont was in the forefront of these efforts and a desire to resist through poetic means was mixed with an ambition to make his mark artistically. Following the Liberation, Dotremont withdrew from the movement of his elders and created his own more politically engaged vision of Surrealism, before founding Cobra.

Through the works of Dotremont and other surrealists of the period, as well as through films, magazines, and photographs, this exhibition recounts the troubled and little known history of Brussels Surrealism.

Practical information:

  • Free admission
  • Free audio-guide (FR/ NL/ ENG) available on your smartphone (
  • Group visits: please book in advance
  • Guided tours: available through our partner guide associations
  • An accompanying publication (in FR-NL) will be on sale in the museum shop from 26/11/2019.


The exhibition is an initiative of the King Baudouin Foundation as part of the Christian Dotremont Fund donation and is curated by Marie Godet.

Dotremont and the Surrealists – A Wartime Youth (1940-1948)