we think is Salvador Dali, but many other artists were also important in this movement, among them is the Belgian René Magritte. His concept was to bring the viewer to a questioning of reality through oneiric images.
Born in Lessines in Belgium in 1898, his childhood was molded by the tragic death of his mother in 1912. Adeline killed herself throwing herself in the river Sambre and Magritte was present in the removal of the body of water. The image of his mother floating in the river with the dress covering her face was a remarkable scene and may have influenced many of Magritte’s paintings, including “The Lovers” showing a couple with the faces covered, but Magritte rejected this interpretation.
In 1916, he began studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. He, after graduating,has worked in various places, mainly as a designer of posters and advertisements, until in 1926 when he signed a contract with Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels, which finally allowed him to devote himself completly to painting.
In the same year, Magritte created his first surrealist work, “The Lost Jockey, this work marks the beginning of a very productive period for the artist. Was not unusual for him to produce a canvas each day.
He made his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927, but was attacked by critics which led him to move to Paris where he met André Breton, and became involved with the Surrealists. In 1930, he was forced to return to Brussels since his contract with Galerie La Centaure have ended and he could no longer stand in Paris (Paris was a very expensive city at that time). Magritte remained in Brussels during the Nazi occupation during World War II. This caused him to lose contact with Breton who fled to the United States in 1941.
|“The lost jockey”|
Magritte’s work became lighter and experimental in the mid-1940s, he produced comic pastiches of Fauve paintings that were so rude and direct that his friends the vache described as “rough”. These canvases were probably a reaction of Magritte dark period of the war, in an attempt to take all war violence and pessimism away of his work.
Magritte was fascinated by challenging the viewer, althoughlhis paintings contain customary and common objects, they are usually arranged in unexpected contexts that they acquire new meaning. An example of this can found in “The Betrayal of Images” book shows a pipe, under it Margrittte wrote the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” which means “This is not a pipe.” Although at first it seems a contradiction, the words tell the truth, the painting is not a pipe but an image of a pipe. Margritte thus demonstrated that the most realistic painting would never be the object portrayed, but always a representation of that object.
Even though he had successful in life, Magritte’s fame was assured by the legacy of his work. Generations of artists and filmmakers are inspired on their screens. The two versions of “Thomas Crown-the art of crime” (1968 and 1999) make direct reference to the work of Magritte’s “The Son of Man” (1964) which shows a man with bowler hat and face covered by an apple. The imagination of the artist also became familiar to the general public thanks to the techniques of mass production and popular culture. Several musicians have used images of works of Magritte on the cover of their albums. A retrospective of the work of Magritte was exhibited at MoMA in New York in 1965, 10 years after his death.
|The son of Man|