The Surrealism Website
Suzanne van Damme(1901 - 1986)




Suzanne van Damme was a Belgian post-impressionist painter who evolved into surrealism in the 1940s. She was trained at the Academies of Brussels and Ghent and in Studio L'Effort in Brussels. During her time in Ostende she was influenced by James Ensor. In the early 1930's, Van Damme moved to Paris where she met the italian painter and poet Bruno Capacci, who became her husband. Van Damme spent a long time in Paris, southern France, London and Florence. In 1941 she came into contact with the Surrealists and participated in the 1947 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris organized by Breton and Duchamp. Her works from the 1940s clearly reference Picasso, De Chirico, Seligmann and also Toyen.
She exhibited at the Venice Bienniale in 1935, 1954 and 1962 and at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1953. When she later moved to Florence, she began creating more abstract works before developing a highly personal language charged with signs and symbols. Her works then became arrays of ideograms made of mini-paintings with both abstract and figurative elements. We see the beginning of this style in the 1953 piece 'Les Ancestryllus'. Her works have been exhibited in Europe and in the United States. The very first exhibition of the Group 2 Gallery in Brussels in 1990 was an homage to Suzanne Van Damme. In 1992 the gallery organized a second solo show Suzanne Van Damme - from Realism to Surrealism.
Unfortunately, many of the reproductions of her early surrealist works seem to be only available in monotone. Doubtless her surrealist phase of paintings were bought up by collectors and rarely appear in public collections.