Henri Michaux was born on May 24, 1899, in Namur, Belgium. He moved to Paris, his adoptive city, in 1924, where he remained until his death in 1984, with long interruptions during faraway trips in South America and China. In spite of his spontaneous surrealist work, he took distance with the Breton group early on to follow his own path, remaining deliberately independent during his whole career as a poet and painter. Quickly recognized as a poet and essayist, he struggled to convince conservative circles that his drawings and paintings on paper were more than mere sketches by a poet looking to illustrate his writing. Instead, they were logical continuation of his creative and even visionary researches, enhanced by the consumption of hallucinogens like mescaline, LSD and hashish. By merging writing and painting into a single discipline loosely inspired by Chinese calligraphy, he is a pioneer in the history of European modern art. It was only in the 60s that Michaux was recognized as a great international artistic figure and a magician of visual art. His first retrospective exhibitions took place in Amsterdam and Geneva in 1964, followed by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 1965, the Guggenheim in New York and then all throughout the world. At its opening, the Centre Pompidou dedicated him a major exhibition in 1978.