Emiel van Moerkerken (1916-1995)
Moerkerken saw Paris as the seedbed of his oeuvre. Even as a child, he regularly went to the French capital to visit exhibitions with his parents. In the 1930s, he often spent time there photographing, filming and meeting other artists. He was inspired by the bohemian existence of the city’s artists, the general atmosphere of freedom and the colourful life of the terrains vagues on the outskirts of Paris. In 1934, Belgian film magazine Documents gave him his first taste of Surrealism: seeing its reproductions of work by artists like Man Ray and Giorgio de Chirico, he experienced a shock of recognition. But he also felt a sense of kinship with the communist ideals of the Surrealists, always feeling at home in left-wing circles and loathing everything that smacked of right-wing attitudes, Catholicism or fascism. In 1947, he published his first photo book, Reportages in Licht en Schaduw, including numerous examples of his Surrealist work and many portraits.