Rene Magritte Biography
René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist best known for his witty and thought-provoking images and his use of simple graphics and everyday imagery.
Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium on 21 November 1898. After attending art school in Brussels, he worked in commercial advertising and book designs, and this most likely shaped his fine art, which often has the abbreviated impact of an advertisement to support himself while he experimented with his painting. In the mid 1920s he began to paint in the surrealist style and became known for giving new meanings to familiar things.
With a popularity that increased over time, Magritte was able to pursue his art full-time and was celebrated in several international exhibitions. He experimented with numerous styles and forms during his life and was a primary influence on the pop art movement. He died on 15 August 1967; Brussels, Belgium.
While some French Surrealists led ostentatious lives, Magritte preferred the quiet anonymity of a middle-class existence, a life symbolized by the bowler-hatted men that often populate his pictures. he was castigated by his peers for some of his strategies (such as his tendency to produce multiple copies of his pictures), yet since his death his reputation has only improved. Conceptual artists have admired his use of text in images, and painters in the 1980s admired the provocative kitsch of some of his later work.
Rene Magritte Paintings/Artwork
- 1920 Landscape
- 1922 The Station and L’Écuyère
- 1923 Self-portrait, Sixth Nocturne, Georgette at the Piano and Donna
- 1925 The Bather and The Window
- 1926 The Lost Jockey, The Mind of the Traveler, Sensational News, The Difficult Crossing, The Vestal’s Agony, The Midnight Marriage, The Musings of a Solitary Walker, After the Water the Clouds, Popular Panorama, Landscape and The Encounter
- 1927 The Enchanted Pose
- 1927 Young Girl Eating a Bird, The Oasis (started in 1925), Le Double Secret, The Meaning of Night, Let Out of School, The Man from the Sea, The Tiredness of Life, The Light-breaker, A Passion for Light, The Menaced Assassin, Reckless Sleeper, La Voleuse, The Fast Hope, L’Atlantide and The Muscles of the Sky
- 1928 The Lining of Sleep (started in 1927), Intermission (started in 1927), The Adulation of Space(started in 1927), The Flowers of the Abyss, Discovery, The Lovers I & II, The Voice of Space, The False Mirror, The Daring Sleeper, The Acrobat’s Ideas, The Automaton, The Empty Mask, Reckless Sleeper, The Secret Life and Attempting the Impossible
- 1929 The Treachery of Images (started in 1928), Threatening Weather and On the Threshold of Liberty
- 1930 Pink Belles, Tattered Skies, The Eternally Obvious, The Lifeline, The Annunciation and Celestial Perfections
- 1931 The Voice of the Air, Summer and The Giantess
- 1932 The Universe Unmasked
- 1933 Elective Affinities, The Human Condition and The Unexpected Answer
- 1934 The Rape
- 1935 The Discovery of Fire, The Human Condition, Revolution, Perpetual Motion, Collective Invention and The Portrait
- 1936 Surprise Answer, Clairvoyance, The Healer, The Philosopher’s Lamp, Spiritual Exercises, Portrait of Irène Hamoir, La Méditation and Forbidden Literature
- 1937 The Future of Statues, The Black Flag, Not to be Reproduced, Portrait of Edward James and Portrait of Rena Schitz, On the Threshold of Liberty
- 1938 Time Transfixed, The Domain of Arnheim and Steps of Summer
- 1939 Victory, The Palace of Memories
- 1940 The Return, The Wedding Breakfast and Les Grandes Espérances
- 1941 The Break in the Clouds
- 1942 Misses de L’Isle Adam, L’Ile au Tréson, Memory, Black Magic, Les compagnons de la peurand The Misanthropes
- 1943 The Return of the Flame, Universal Gravitation and Monsieur Ingres’s Good Days
- 1944 The Good Omens
- 1945 Treasure Island, Les Rencontres Naturelles and Black Magic
- 1946 L’Intelligence and Les Mille et une Nuits
- 1947 La Philosophie dans le boudoir, The Cicerone, The Liberator, The Fair Captive, La Part du Feu and The Red Model
- 1948 Blood Will Tell, Memory, The Mountain Dweller, The Art of Life, The Pebble, The Lost Jockey, God’s Solon, Shéhérazade, L’Ellipse and Famine and The Taste of Sorrow
- 1949 Megalomania, Elementary Cosmogany, and Perspective, the Balcony
- 1950 Making an Entrance, The Legend of the Centuries, Towards Pleasure, The Labors of Alexander, The Empire of Light II, The Fair Captive and The Art of Conversation
- 1951 David’s Madame Récamier (parodying the Portrait of Madame Récamier), Pandora’s Box, The Song of the Violet, The Spring Tide and The Smile
- 1952 Personal Values and Le Sens de la Pudeur
- 1953 Golconda, The Listening Room and a fresco, The Enchanted Domain, for the Knokke Casino
- 1954 The Invisible World, The Explanation and The Empire of Light
- 1955 Memory of a Journey and The Mysteries of the Horizon
- 1956 The Sixteenth of September
- 1957 The Fountain of Youth and The Enchanted Domain
- 1958 The Golden Legend, Hegel’s Holiday, The Banquet and The Familiar World
- 1959 The Castle in the Pyrenees, The Battle of the Argonne, The Anniversary, The Month of the Grape Harvest and La clef de verre (The Glass Key)
- 1960 The Memoirs of a Saint
- 1962 The Great Table, The Healer, Waste of Effort, Mona Lisa (circa 1962) and L’embeillie (circa 1962)
- 1963 The Great Family, The Open Air, The Beautiful Season, Princes of the Autumn, Young Love, La Recherche de la Vérité and The Telescope and ” The Art Of Conversation”
- 1964 Le soir qui tombe (Evening Falls), The Great War, The Son of Man and Song of Love
- 1965 Le Blanc-Seing,Carte Blanche, The Thought Which Sees, Ages Ago and The Beautiful Walk(circa 1965)
- 1966 The Shades, The Happy Donor, The Gold Ring, The Pleasant Truth, The Two Mysteries, and The Mysteries of the Horizon
- 1967 Les Grâces Naturelles, La Géante, The Blank Page, Good Connections, The Art of Living, L’Art de Vivre and several bronze sculptures based on Magritte’s previous works
Rene Magritte the lovers
In this unsettling image—the first in a series of four variations of Les Amants that Magritte painted in 1928—the artist invokes the cinematic cliché of a close–up kiss but subverts our voyeuristic pleasure by shrouding the faces in cloth.
A draped cloth or veil to conceal a figure’s identity corresponds to a larger Surrealist interest in masks, disguises, and what lies beyond or beneath visible surfaces.
Rene Magritte Son of Man
Magritte painted it as a self-portrait. The painting consists of a man in an overcoat and a bowler hat standing in front of a low wall, beyond which are the sea and a cloudy sky. The man’s face is largely obscured by a hovering green apple. However, the man’s eyes can be seen peeking over the edge of the apple. Another subtle feature is that the man’s left arm appears to bend backwards at the elbow.
Rene Magritte The treachery of images (This is not a pipe)
‘The Treachery of Images’ cleverly highlights the gap between language and meaning. Magritte combined the words and image in such a fashion that he forces us to question the importance of the sentence and the word. “Pipe,” for instance, is no more an actual pipe than a picture of a pipe can be smoked.
Rene Magritte Golconda
Golconda is an oil painting on canvas by Belgian surrealist René Magritte, painted in 1953. It is usually housed at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.
The piece depicts a scene of “raining men”, nearly identical to each other dressed in dark overcoats and bowler hats, who seem to be either falling down like rain drops, floating up like helium balloons, or just stationed in mid air as no movement or motion is implied.
The backdrop features red-roofed buildings and a mostly blue partly cloudy sky, lending credence to the theory that the men are not raining. The men are equally spaced in a lattice, facing the viewpoint and receding back in rhombic grid layers.
Rene Magritte Not to Be Reproduced
(La reproduction interdite)
This work is currently owned by the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
This painting was commissioned by poet and Magritte patron Edward James and is considered a portrait of James although James’s face is not depicted.
The work depicts a man standing in front of a mirror, but whereas the book on the mantelpiece is reflected correctly, the man’s reflection also shows him from behind.
Rene Magritte Memory
Memory depicts a beheaded statue which seems to have a wounded eye.
The wounded head could depict her memories seeping out. The wound representing how painful these memories are to her. The painting also shows a bell and a rose. They could be part of the painful memory. Maybe a lost lover or a destructive relationship.
This picture could represent a forgotten lover who she is trying to remember.
Rene Magritte Clairvoyance
In La Clairvoyance Rene Magritte delivers a self-portrait of himself painting a bird. But, as with all of Magritte’s work, there is so much more going on. Not only is he painting a picture of a bird, he is using an unhatched egg as his point of reference. Magritte is painting more than what is right in front of him: he is painting the possibility, potential, the future. Hence the name of this painting: Clairvoyance.
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Rene Magritte Photography
The photographs and films of René Magritte came to light in the mid-1970s. The discovery has led to a deeper understanding of the close relationship Magritte maintained with photography. They reveal how he used these tools to experiment with his ideas, while providing rare access to an informal side of the artist and those with whom he surrounded himself.
These images, which he often executed or collaborated with others to produce, contribute to our overall understanding of this intrepid artist, and provide key visual insight into Magritte’s relationship with the photographic medium, and its role within his greater oeuvre.
Rene Magritte Museum
The Magritte Museum (French: Musée Magritte, Dutch: Magritte Museum) is a museum in Brussels, Belgium dedicated to the work of the surrealist artist, René Magritte. It is one of the constituent museums of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
It opened to the public on 30 May 2009 in Brussels. Housed in the five-level neo-classical Hotel Altenloh, on the Place Royale, it displays some 200 original Magritte paintings, drawings and sculptures including The Return, Scheherazade and The Empire of Lights.
This multidisciplinary permanent installation is the biggest Magritte archive anywhere and most of the work is directly from the collection of the artist’s widow, Georgette Magritte, and from Irene Hamoir Scutenaire, who was his primary collector. Additionally, the museum includes Magritte’s experiments with photography from 1920 on and the short surrealist films he made from 1956 on.
Rene Magritte Facts
1. Magritte’s mother committed suicide.
When he was thirteen, his mother drowned herself in the River Sambre after years of struggling with depression and several attempted suicides.
2. He had a complicated love story with his muse, model, and wife, Georgette.
Almost 15 years into his marriage, he began an affair with a young artist. He enlisted a friend to entertain his wife and prevent her from finding out. This resulted in an affair between said friend and Georgette. Eventually, the couple reconciled and stayed together ‘til the end of Magritte’s life.
3. He was too poor to become a painter right away.
His brothers supported him before he could become a full-time painter. His businessman brother bought his paintings, while Magritte and the youngest brother ran an advertising agency together.
4. Apart from images, he also used words to make his viewers question their perception.
Viewers were intended to analyze his work, linking the images to the words and forming new meanings.
5. His paintings were the most vibrant during World War II.
Magritte’s art shifted from the dark moods of surrealism to a “search for joy and pleasure”, in contrast to the violence and suffering during the war.
6. He was a master forger.
He made money by reproducing paintings by Picasso, Chirico, and Braques.
7. He continues to be very famous and coveted even after his death.
His works have been plagiarized or adapted in book covers, advertisements, and posters.
Rene Magritte Quotes
- Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.
- The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.
- If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.