Abridged Biographical Chronology
1905 Wolfgang Robert Paalen is born on July 22nd in Baden, near Vienna, Austria.

1913 Parents move to Rochusburg in Sagan, Silesia.

1919 Family moves to Rome, summers in Sagan.

1921 Studies with Leo von Koenig in Tivoli and Berlin.

1922 Studies with Adolphe Meyer in Berlin, meets Julius Meier-Graefe. Relation with Helene Meier-Graefe (Aya). Shows paintings in Impressionist style in Berlin Secession. Meets Serge Brignoni.

1924 Stays in Paris until 1926. Shows in the Galerie Figuet, Paris. Friendship with Marie-Louise von Motesitsky. Meets Max Beckmann. Studies Cubist paintings.

1927 Visits Hans Hofmann School in Munich and Cassis. Rents studio in La Ciotat (Cassis). Meets circle of German artists (Westphal, Petersen, Becker) and Jean Varda. Visits Braque in Varengeville.

1929 Takes a studio in Paris on rue de Guerre. Meets Jean Hélion and Hans Hartung. Studies with Fernand Léger. Participates in group show in Galerie Flechtheim, Berlin, at Salon des Surindépendants.

1930 Meets again Max Beckmann, Marie-Louise von Motesitsky and Elias Canetti. Takes larger studio in rue Pernety. Participates in the annual show at Rheinische Sezession Düsseldorf. Marries the Breton artist Alice Rahon.

1932 Group show in Galerie Bonjean, Paris. Studies with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. Meets Peggy Guggenheim, Valentine and Roland Penrose.

1933 Illustrates a book of poetry by Valentine Penrose. Visits the caves of Altamira in Spain.

1934 Starts to collect Cycladic idol-figures. Show at Galerie Vignon, Paris. A.E.Gallatin buys Visage planetaires for the Museum of Living Art in New York. Exhibits with the group abstraction creation - art non-figurative (catalogue)

1935 Publishes Reponse à une enquiete in Cahiers d'Art (No.14, 1935). Travels to London to visit Henry Moore and Roland Penrose. Rents house in Le Bruse sur Seine during summer. Travels to Greece and Cycladic islands. Exhibits two paintings in the show these-antithüse-synthüse in Kunstmuseum Luzern (catalogue), organized by Hans Erni. Leaves abstraction creation group with Hans Arp and Sophi Taeuber. Meets André Breton. Participates at the show Exposition de dessins surrealistes in Les Quatre Chemins, Paris. Joins the Surrealist group.

1936 Personal show in Galerie Pierre, Paris. Participates in Surrealist shows: New York, Museum of Modern Art (Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism), London, Burlington Galleries (International Exhibition of Surrealism), Paris, Galerie Charles Ratton (Exposition Surréaliste d'Objüts). Frontispiz to the poem-book Le Nouveau Candide of Valentine Penrose. Takes studio in rue Boulard, Paris. Makes first fumage dessin fait avec bougie.

1937 Meets Marcel Duchamp on occasion of the design of Galerie Gradiva in Paris. Participates in Surrealist exhibitions in London (Artists International Society) and Cambridge (University Art Society). Travels to Sagan, Prague and Bohemia in summer. Prepares objects for the Winter Surrealist Show in Paris. Illustration for Alfred Jarry's Ubu enchainé.

1938 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris (Palais de Beaux Arts, Galerie Wildenstein). Paalen is responsible for plant and water installations. Under Duchamp's ceiling he creates an artificial lake with plants. Personal show of his fumages in Galerie Renou et Colle, Paris (Text by André Breton). Illustration for a Surrealist edition of Lautréamonts Les Chants de Maldoror. Meets Frida Kahlo during her visit to Paris who invites him to Mexico. Summers in La Mesangüre Varüngeville with Breton. Visits Aya in Germany, decides in Munich to leave Europe.

1939 Solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's Gallery Guggenheim Jeune, London. Critiques Breton and Herbert Read in London Bulletin (No.10, p.17) and Minotaure (No.12/13, p.90). Travels with Alice Rahon and Eva Sulzer from London to New York. Meets Julien Levy, William Baziotes and Gerome Kamrowski. Travels to Canada, British Columbia. Collects Native American totemic art. Travels to San Francisco and Mexico in autumn. Rents studio in San Angel, Mexico near Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's house. Friendship with Manual Alvarez Bravo and César Moro. Prepares Surrealist exhibition with Moro.

1940 International Surrealist Exhibition in Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City. Travels to New York for his solo exhibition at Julien Levy Gallery. Meets Robert Motherwell, Adolphe Gottlieb, Jackson Pollock and Barnet Newman. Back in Mexico organizes visas for Surrealists in Europe.

1941 Robert Motherwell studies with Paalen in Mexico for several months. Motivates Motherwell to collaborate on his DYN project. Motherwell translates his essay L'Image Nouvelle and Paalen introduces Motherwell to Breton. Gordon Onslow Ford and Jacqueline Johnson move to Mexico.

1942 The Nazis confiscate St.Rochusburg in Sagan. Order of Deportation for his father Gustaf Rainer Paalen who supposedly flees to Switzerland or commits suicide in Berlin. First issue of DYN is published in Mexico, ending in 1944 a total number of four magazines are printed, one of them double-sized (Amerindian Number 1943). First issue contains Paalen's Farewell au surrealisme which makes his distance from Surrealism official. Participates in the show First Papers of Surrealism in New School for Social Research, New York.

1943 In New York he meets Isamu Noguchi and Luchita Hurtado del Solar.

1944 The German Bauhaus architect Max Cetto builds a studio house for Paalen in San Angel, Mexico, the Villa Obregon.

1945 Publication of Paalen's essay La crise du sujét dans la peinture moderne in Revue de L'IFAL, Mexico. One man show in Galeria de Arte Méxicano, Mexico City with 19 works from 1939-45. Correspondence with Motherwell about the planned book Form and Sense with collected essays of Paalen. After Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, Peggy Guggenheim shows Paalen's new paintings from Mexico in May of this year. After the end of the war (May 8) Paalen stays through the summer with Motherwell in New York. Form and Sense is published as first number of the series Problems of Contemporary Art under the direction of Motherwell. Contact with the theologian and novelist Arthur A.Cohen, who was inspired by the life and destiny of Paalen for his famous novel Acts of Theft.

1946 Paalen and his companion Luchita Hurtado stay three months in Motherwell's house Quonset in East Hampton in Long Island. Private reading of Paalen's play The Beam of the Balance with Motherwell and friends. In November one man show in the Nierendorf Gallery, New York. Nierendorf publishes the monograph on Paalen by the German novelist Gustav Regler. The sculptor Louise Nevelson invites them to prolong their stay until January 1947 in her home in Long Island. Intensive contact with New York artists Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.

1947 Divorce from Alice Rahon, marries Luchita Hurtado del Solar. Becomes Mexican citizen after his attempts to aquire US citizenship fail. Motherwell continues DYN under the name Possibilities in New York with Harold Rosenberg. Works by Paalen appear in the Surrealism show at Galerie Maeght, Paris.

1948 In February Paalen travels to New York and Chicago and plans a DYNATON exhibition in San Francisco. Spends November and December in New York with Motherwell in East Hampton to discuss the foundation of a new art shool with Rothko and Clifford Still. During a dinner with the Rothkos in Manhattan he receives an invitation to teach in San Francisco, but declines. Rene d'Harnoncourt gives Paalen a one man show in the San Francisco Museum of Art. In Mill Valley he meets Henry Miller, Anäis Nin and Jean Varda and works on his essay Metaplastic. The Onslow Fords acquire a house in Mill Valley and invite Paalen to stay. They meet Lee Mullican and travel together in Mexico before they decide to work together in Mill Valley in 1949/1950.

1949 After traveling to New York, the Paalens move to San Francisco to prepare the Metaplastic show at the Stanford Art Gallery, which is accompanied by lectures by Sybil Moholy-Nagy.

1950 The new Association Dynaton exhibits together at the San Francisco Museum of Art, titled A New Vision. With the exhibition the museum publishes the book DYNATON. Luchita divorces from Paalen to live with Lee Mullican.

1951 Paalen returns to Mexico and travels through the Yucatan. Works on his essay on the Olmec culture, published in 1952 in Cahiers d'Art. In New York he exhibits with the Willard Gallery and meets Maria Wilson, with whom he travels to Paris. Rents Kurt Seligman's Villa Seurat in Paris. Exhibits in Galerie Pierre and resumes contact with André Breton and the Surrealists. Becomes member of the Societé des Americanistes.

1953 Summers in Breton's house in Saint Circ la Popie with other Surrealists.

1954 Exhibition at Geo Dupin's Galerie Galanis-Hentschel, Paris. Illustrates the 2nd issue of Medium - Communication Surréaliste, edited by Jean Schuster and José Pierre. Travels through Germany, visits Helene Maier-Graefe in Badenweiler. Travels back to America. Exhibition at the Paul Kantor Gallery in Los Angeles.

1955 Buys a small house in Tépoztlan near Mexico City.

1956 Exhibition at Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City.

1957 Buys a Hacienda near Merida in the Yucatan and dedicates himself more and more to his collection of Pre-Columbian art.

1959 Commits suicide after a long depression in Taxco on the night of September 24th.