Kati Horna

Marcel Lefrancq

Born in Mons (Belgium) the 9th october 1916.The Monument, Canterbury, april 23, 1936

Begins studying trade business after classical studies in the “Athénée royal de Mons”. Aged 16 learns prehistorical archeology with the curator of the “Musée de Préhistoire de Mons”. He is self-educated in photography. The oldest negatives preserved are from 1932.

Frequents artistic circles and workshops in the “Académie des Beaux-Arts de Mons”. Interpreter for the Old Comptentibles (British veterans of World War 1).

In 1938 takes part in the activities of group Rupture.

In 1939 founds the Groupe Surréaliste de Hainaut with Achille Chavée, Fernand Dumont, Armand Simon, Louis Vandespiegele.

He was arrested for a few days by belgian authorities as member of the “Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes” after the Germano-Sovietic Pact in 1939.

He works as photographer for the “Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique” at the inventory of art works which should be destroyed during the war coming.

In 1940, he leaves Belgium like thousand of others for south of France. In Eyzies de Tayac (Dordogne), he meets Father Breuil and works with him for a while at archeological researches in a prehistoric site. They will keep in touch till the death of Father Breuil.

Back in Belgium he takes part in an escape and intelligence network (hiding Jews and taking photographs for forgered I.D.) until 1944. He is arrested by german military authorities after anonymous denunciation, suspected of terrorist activities, and released for lack of evidences after almost a month in jail in Mons.

Photographs are published in issues 1 and 2 of L’Invention collective.

After the Liberation he joins the US Army (at the Civil Affairs Office) as interpreter : besides french, he also speaks fluently english, flemish and german.

In 1945, he publishes a text in a special issue of Le Salut Public dedicated to surrealism and shows 14 photographs in the exhibition Surréalisme in Brussels.

In 1946, he opens his studio La Lanterne Magique in Mons.

In 1947, he signs the pamphlets Pas de quartiers dans la révolution and La Cause est entendue published by the Groupe surréaliste révolutionnaire.

He founds in Mons the group Haute Nuit with Achille Chavée, Paul Franck, Franz Moreau, Armand Simon, Louis Van De Spiegele…

In 1948, he publishes a portfolio (poems and photographs) Aux mains de la lumière, at editions Haute Nuit, with a presentation by Armand Simon.

He publishes a photograph in the issue n° 1 of the Bulletin international du surréalisme révolutionnaire.

In 1949, he publishes a photograph in the issue n° 2 of the review Cobra.

In 1950, he takes part to the exhibition Les développements de l’oeil organised by Cobra in Brussels.

He illustrates a text by Christian Dotremont in the issue n° 8 of the review Cobra.

Self-portrait with anchor, 1958.In 1953, he found the Association des Amis du Musée de Préhistoire de Mons (AMPM), later named Société de Recherches préhistoriques du Hainaut (SRPH). He will be one of the leaders of this association before to be his President. Until his death, he always carried on with archeological researches besides his artistic activities and published several articles in specialized reviews.

He died in Vaudignies (Belgium) on 14th november 1974.