René Magritte

Rene Magritte is one of the internationally acclaimed surrealist artist of all time, yet it was not until his 50s, when he was finally able to attain fame and recognition for his work.

Rene Magritte was born in 1898, in Lessines, Belgium. In 1912, Magritte’s mother committed suicide and this deeply impacted the young boy. Magritte began drawing lessons at age ten. In 1916, he went to study a the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, where he found the instruction uninspiring and unsuited to his tastes. He subsequently left the school and started painting in Pierre-Louis Flouquet’s studio, where he discovered Cubism and Futurism.

Magritte did not begin his actual painting career till after serving in the Belgian infantry for a short time where he was working at a wallpaper company as a draftsman and producing advertising posters. In 1922 he married to Georgette Berger who was his only muse for the rest of his life. Rene Magritte had his first solo exhibition in 1927, Brussels. He later moved to Paris where he became friends with artist Andre Breton, the founder of Surrealism.

From 1927 through 1930, Magritte became actively involved in the surrealist group. Much of his works during this time period were described as cavernous, with many of his paintings showcasing bizarre scenes, with a hint of eroticism. For a short period, in 1943-44, Magritte briefly adopted a colourful, painterly style, an interlude known as his ‘Renoir Period’.

During the majority of his career, his work followed a surrealist style. Much of the work he created depicted similar scenes and recurring themes. Some of his favourites were floating rocks, or creating a painting within a painting. In his works, Magritte also used many inanimate objects within a human figure, creating his distinct style. To Magritte, what is concealed is more important than what is open to view. During the course of his career, Rene Magritte would also use famous paintings, which were created by other artists, to put his own surrealist twist on it. This was one way for Magritte to showcase his style and to create a unique design, forcing viewers of his pieces, to look outside of the norm and focus on the distinctive features, which were not originally present.

Through creating common images and placing them in extreme contexts, Magritte sough to have his viewers question the ability of art to truly represent an object. In his paintings, Magritte often played with the perception of an image and the fact that the painting of the image could never actually be the object. In the entirety of his artistic career, Magritte placed his emphasis on the surrealist style. Magritte had a playful and provocative sense of humour that he worked in to many of the pieces that he has created and which became some of his most well known pieces throughout the course of his career.

His artistic interpretations influenced many modern artists, including Andy Warhol, Jan Verdoodt and Jasper Johns. Magritte’s art which was especially popular during the 1960’s has also influenced numerous songs, movies, and books. Magritte began to work on sculptures at a later part of his career as well. In recent years, many of the works created by Rene Magritte have been on exhibition

During the course of his career Magritte also had notable exhibitions in Brussels, as well as around the world. In 1936, an essential exhibition of Magritte was held in New York City. Subsequently, two important retrospective exhibitions were also held. One of which was in 1965, at the Museum of Modern Art and a second was held in 1992, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Magritte Museum opened in Brussels in 2009.

  • On Form - Sculptures

    On Form - Sculptures


    July 26, 2013 - August 18, 2013

  • From Impressionism to Pop Art

    From Impressionism to Pop Art


    July 08, 2012 - August 12, 2012