SURREALIST REVOLUTION – Irène Hamoir, the leading female exponent of the Belgian surrealist movement

When creativity breaks its shell

In 1936, René Magritte painted a portrait of her, Beauty broke her strange casing, gave the fountains pink. Figure of the Belgian surrealist movement, in fact, after studying economics he began working as a secretary in a dyeing factory, later becoming involved in the Belgian socialist movement. She was born in Saint-Gilles from a family linked to the circus; she was a socialist militant already as a teenager. In 1925, she wrote her first poem, Métallique, and three years later, she met the surrealists of Brussels. Belgian surrealism was essentially masculine, yet she grew up alongside the great surrealists of her country. Irène Hamoir did not devote herself exclusively to a career as a poet.

In 1935, after taking part in the International Surrealism Exposition, she was the subject of a portrait by René Magritte. She lent the pen for exhibition catalogs of surrealist works, and together with her husband Louis Scutenaire, she signed the preface of a retrospective dedicated to Magritte and surrealism in Belgium. La Cuve infernale was her first novel, published in 1944. Her collection of writings, The Infernal Tank, appeared in 1944. In 1945, with photos of Marcel Mariën, she contributed to the reviews of various magazines. Irène Hamoir died in Brussels on a day in May 1994, leaving behind a long experience of work at the International Court of Justice, which combined with a long artistic militancy.

Despite her passion for the arts, her encounters initiated her into the surrealist artistic practice. During evening journalism courses, she met René Magritte, Marc Eemans and Marcel Lecomte, as well as André Scutenaire whom she married in 1930. Irène Hamoir‘s relationship with the surrealist movement improved over the years, especially after the approach of World War II she and her husband took refuge in Carcassonne together with Magritte and Raoul Ubac. There she met André Gide and Gaston Gallimard. She published a collection of sound poems in 1949, collaborated with several magazines, and in 1953, she published her novel Boulevard Jacqmain, in which members of the Belgian surrealist group appeared with nicknames.

La Cuve infernale was her first collection of short stories, but Irène Hamoir–ir%C3%A8ne-hamoir.aspx also collaborated with the magazines La Terre n’est pas une Vallée de Larmes and Les Deux Sœurs. Before publishing her poem under the name Irine, as well as her first novel, Boulevard Jacqmain, she took part in a magazine created by André Blavier and Jane Graverol. Collected in the Corne de Brumenel collection and congrassigned by the humor of the surrealists, her poems will meet an ever-wider audience. After her husband’s death, some of their correspondences with Andre Bosmans, Paul Nougé and Marcel Mariën were publish in Naked Lips magazine.

It was describe in drawings and in a portrait painted by Rene Magritte. Poet and writer, central female figure of the surrealist movement in Belgium, Irène Hamoir appeared under the name of Lorrie in her inscriptions. Her father was a hatter, while her paternal grandmother had two children with a Brussels racing cyclist. With Paul Nougé, the Magritte brothers, Andre Souris and Marcel Lecomte, she and her husband attended the meetings of the surrealist group in Brussels, but were also part of the surrealist group in Paris. A portrait of her in pencil on paper, dimensions 203 x 254 mm, signed upper right by René Magritte in 1948, is visible at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.

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