René Magritte

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René Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte

(1898-11-21)21 November 1898
Died15 August 1967(1967-08-15) (aged 68)
Known forPainter
Notable workThe Treachery of Images
On the Threshold of Liberty
The Son of Man
The Empty Mask
The Difficult Crossing
The Human Condition
Not to be Reproduced
Time Transfixed
Elective Affinities
The Portrait
The Mysteries of the Horizon
The Menaced Assassin

René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He was well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images.

Early life and career[change | change source]

Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut.[1] Little is known about Magritte's early life. He began lessons in drawing in 1910. On 12 March 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre.

Magritte's earliest paintings, which date from about 1915, were Impressionistic in style. From 1916 to 1918, he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He studied under Constant Montald. The paintings he made in the years 1918–1924 were influenced by Futurism and by the offshoot of Cubism practiced by Metzinger. Most of his works of this period are female nudes.

In 1922, Magritte married Georgette Berger[1] From December 1920 until September 1921, Magritte was in the Belgian army Leopoldsburg. In 1922–1923, he worked as a draughtsman in a wallpaper factory. He was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926. In 1926, Magritte made his first surreal painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu). His first exhibition was in Brussels in 1927. Critics did not like his paintings.

In 1927 he moved to Paris where he became friends with André Breton. He returned to Brussels in 1930 and resumed working in advertising.[2] He and his brother, Paul, formed an agency which earned him a living wage.

Surrealist patron Edward James let Magritte stay rent free in his London home and paint.

During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II he stayed in Brussels. During 1947–48 he painted in a provocative and crude Fauve style. During this time, Magritte supported himself through making fake Picassos, Braques and Chiricos. Later he printed forged banknotes. At the end of 1948, he returned to the style and themes of his prewar surrealistic art.

His work was exhibited in the United States in New York in 1936. It was shown again at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992.

Magritte died of pancreatic cancer in Brussels on 15 August 1967.

Magritte Museum[change | change source]

The Magritte Museum opened to the public on 30 May 2009 in Brussels.[3] It is in the five-level neo-classical Hotel Altenloh. The museum shows about 200 original Magritte paintings, drawings and sculptures.[4] The museum also includes Magritte’s experiments with photography from 1920 on and the short surrealist movies he made from 1956 on.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Meuris 1991, p 216.
  2. Meuris 1991, p. 217.
  3. Magritte Museum
  4. "Two New Museums for Tintin and Magritte". Time. 30 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  5. Oisteanu, Valery (8 July 2010). "Magritte, Painter-Philosopher". The Brooklyn Rail (July-August 2010).