Born Eugéne Grindel in Saint-Denis of lower middle class parents, and educated in Paris. Suffered from tuberculosis and spent the years 1912-14 in a sanatorium at Davos, where he met his future wife. Fought on the Western Front during the First World War. Married in 1917. A close associate of André Breton's, with whom he founded the Surrealist movement after the war. Suddenly left Paris in 1924 because of difficulties in his marriage, spending eight months in South America, Australia and the Far East. Separated from his wife, who later married the painter Salvador Dalí, in 1930; remarried in 1934. Supported the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and renewed his early allegiance to the Communist party, an act which led to estrangement between him and Breton. In hiding during the Second World War, having joined the Resistance in 1942. Death of his second wife in 1946. Internationally famous after the war, and invited to visit Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece and Poland. Married for a third time in 1951. Died in Paris of a heart attack.
In a programme note for the 1917 production of Parade Apollinaire praised the ballet for its 'surrealism' and expressed the hope that this collaborative venture -- concocted by Picasso, Diaghilev, Cocteau and Erik Satie -- would be 'the point of departure for a series of manifestations of that New Spirit which . . . promises to modify the arts and the conduct of life from top to bottom'. Rarely can such an inherently ephemeral publication have contained such a prophetic statement; but Apollinaire did not live to see his