The Museum of Avant-garde

Paul Éluard

France (1895—1952)
Born into a wealthy family, the young Éluard studied at the École Supérieur de Colbert but soon after he contracted tuberculosis and had to be hospitalised near Davos. There he met Helena Diakonova, a Russian young lady, who he named Gala, and married her in 1918. Two days later he left to join the front again but continued to write and published Duty and Anxiety and Little Poems for Peace. The following year he met André Breton, Philippe Soupault and Louis Aragon, who started the journal Littérature. He and Gala entertained a close relationship with Max Ernst until Éluard suddenly left in 1924 and soon after separated from Gala. Éluard started to travel through Europe and became close friend with Man Ray and Picasso. With the latter he witnessed the Spanish civil war and wrote the Victory of Guernica. In 1939 he was mobilised and had to move to Paris. During the WWII he worked with other writers on the book The Honors of Poets. In 1947 he published Le temps déborde in memory of his second wife Nusch. He spent his last years as a delegate of the Council for World Peace until his death in 1952.