* Paul Delvaux, 96, the Belgian painter...


* Paul Delvaux, 96, the Belgian painter whose dreamlike depictions of skeletons, trains and nudes made him a master of surrealism, died yesterday in Veurne, near the North Sea resort town of St. Idesbald, the Paul Delvaux Foundation in Brussels, Belgium, announced. He was one of the last surviving surrealist painters. His career spanned almost 70 years, during which he gained fame for depicting the richness of the subconscious in figurative but irrational images. His paintings hang alongside those of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte in many of the world's finest museums. Young Girl in Front of a Temple, which was painted in 1949, sold for $1 million 40 years later. Other major works included the Sleeping Venus (1933) and the Evening Trains (1957). He made naked women a central theme of his paintings during a time of stringent moral codes and was no stranger to controversy. A 1948 show was off-limits to priests. Children were not allowed into a 1960s retrospective in the resort of Ostend.

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