Born and raised in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain, where his father owned a plantation. Moved to Paris in the early 1930s and became a painter and sculptor. Officially made a surrealist by Breton in 1934. A particularly active participant in the group until the war, he is credited with the invention of the decalcomania, an automatic technique in which gouache or other thin paint is spread on one surface then printed onto another, with chance-induced results. This technique was later adopted by Max Ernst. Remained in France during the occupation, befriending Picasso who would have a great influence on his later works. Exhibited throughout Europe until his suicide in 1957.