Painter, draughtsman and stage designer, Masson had an important role in the development of both Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. At only 11, he was admitted to the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Brussels. His first works, particularly the 1922 paintings, reflected the influence of André Derain although he distanced himself from him at the end of 1923 to move towards Analytical Cubism. Recognition came with his first one-man show at the Simon Gallery in Paris (1923) and brought him to the attention of other artists, namely André Breton who invited him to join the Surrealist group. Influenced by Surrealist ideas, Masson, together with Joan Miró, began experimenting with automatic drawing. In 1929, his first paintings became more schematic, his compositions became freer and his imagery developed along "automatic" gestural lines. Between 1924 and 1929, the Masson and Miró biomorphic abstractions dominated Surrealist painting but, after the Second World War, the former began to show a growing interest in Impressionism. Combining this Impressionist style with Oriental technique and imagery, Masson abandoned the chiaroscuro technique for the application of total luminosity. In his final works, developed the themes of transformation and metamorphosis that he had begun in 1922. In 1954, he won the National Grand Prix for the Arts. In 1955-64, he took part in documenta 1 and 3, in Kassel. In 1964, two important retrospectives were organised at the Academia de Berlin and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1972, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale.