(1920 - 1998)
Two Women in Mirrors
107 x 68 cm
Mixed Media on Paper
Pol Mara (1920-1998)
Pol Mara, a pseudonym for Louis Leysen, was a Belgian painter, draftsman and lithographer. Born in 1920 in Antwerp, he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and later at the National Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp from which he graduated in 1948. He then started working as a graphic designer for Janssen Pharmaceutica.
At the start of his artistic career, Pol Mara worked as a surrealist painter before moving on to lyrical abstraction in the 1950s. In 1958, he founded the Antwerp avant-garde group G-58 Hessenhuis along with Paul Van Hoeydonck, Mark Verstockt, Filip Tas and Dan Vanseveren.
In the 1960s, Pol Mara introduced photorealistic elements in his work, linking up with emerging mass communication by interweaving elements from the world of television, film and illustrated magazines. He thus ventured contemporaneously with Robert Rauschenberg into the pop art scene. Pol Mara often painted a dream world in which beautiful young women were regularly found in light undergarments. His figures clearly displayed a kinship with the world of fashion magazines and advertising. By creating this aesthetic world of illusions, Pol Mara wanted to criticize the injustice and the repulsiveness of his contemporary society.
Along with Evelyne Axell (1935-1972), Pol Mara was at the forefront of the pop art movement in Belgium. In 1974 he painted murals in the Montgomery metro station in Brussels. Since 1972, partly for health reasons, he spent most of his time in Gordes (France), where the Pol Mara Museum opened in the castle of Gordes in 1996, displaying two hundred of his works.