Encouraged by his father to devote himself to art after early display of visual artistic aptitude, Paalen moved to Paris with his parents in 1920. Studied in Italy and in Berlin from 1922; in 1925 included in Berlines Secession exhibition on recimmendation of critic Meier-Graefe. Painting impressionist landscapes from 1925 to 1927. He studied at hans Hofmann atelier in Munich. Exhibited in Paris (1929) in Salon des Surindépendants. Introduced by Swiss sculptor Serge Brignoni to Oceanic art. In 1933 Paalen began works of his "Cycladic perido", based on pre-archaic Greek sculpture. From 1932 exhibited with Abstraction-Cretaion group in Paris and Switzerland. Met Max Ernst, Roland Penrose and Paul Eluard. First exhibited with Surrealists in London and at Museum of Modern Art, NY in 1936. Solo exhibition same year, Galérie Pierre in Paris, Next year, he contributed to surrealist automatist techniques with his 'Totemic period', as in Totemic Landscape of my childhood. Participated in International Surrealist Exhibition, Galérie des Beaux Arts (Paris). Illustrated pamphlet for 1937 production of Alfred Jarry, Ubu enchainé and Lautréamont's Oeuvres complétes (1938). Left Europe and went to NY. He moved to Mexico in 1939 on invitation of Frida Kahlo. With Andrés Breton and Peruvian poet César Moro, organized International Surrealist Exhibition, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, 1940. Introduced to pre-Columbian art through friendship with Diego Rivera and Miguel Covarrubias. In 1942 with Covarrubias founded publication Dyn. Published his 'Farewell to Surrealism' in its first issue. In 1950 returned to Europe and produced his 'Telluric period' (1953) and 'Floral period' (1958).