Eight little known facts about Marcel Broodthaers

In our latest exhibition, KALEIDOSCOPE The Vanished Reality, Marcel Broodthaers and his iconic works return to Modern Art Oxford after 41 years. To celebrate, here are a few facts you may not have known about the artist himself.

Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) was a Belgian poet, filmmaker, and artist, who often created work with a witty approach. In the pieces presented at Modern Art Oxford in 1975, Broodthaers worked primarily with collage and found objects – always incorporating written texts, a legacy of his life as a poet.

KALEIDOSCOPE The Vanished Reality in 2016 presented Broodthaers’ work almost exactly as it was displayed at the gallery four decades ago.


1. In 1975, Modern Art Oxford hosted Broodthaers’ first ever UK exhibition, titled Le Privilége De L’Art, which took place from 26 April – 1 June.

2. From the age of 16, Broodthaers spent 20 years as a struggling poet until the early 1960s when he decided to become an artist.

3. The first art object Broodthaers created in 1963 was made by embedding 50 unsold copies of his book of poemsPense-Bête in plaster.


4. One of Broodthaers’ main artistic influences was his friend and the famous Surrealist painter, René Magritte, who gave him a copy of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de Dés, written in 1897.

5. Broodthaers’ first solo exhibition took place at the Galerie St Laurent, Brussels in 1964 where he exhibited everyday objects, words, lettering and drawings, often using verbal and visual puns.


6. Le Privilége De L’Art was his final show in the UK until the Tate presented his work posthumously in 1980.

7. Broodthaers passed away on his 52nd birthday, only six months after his exhibition at Modern Art Oxford.

8. Broodthaers is buried at Ixelles Cemetery in Brussels, marked by a tombstone of his own desi

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