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RENE MAGRITTE 1898 -1967

Pre-Raphaelite painter most famous for his paintings of female characters from mythology.
 
René François Ghislain Magritte (November 21, 1898 - August 15, 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He is well known for a number of witty and amusing images. Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium in 1898. In 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels for two years until 1918. During this time he met Georgette Berger, whom he married in 1922.

 
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Magritte worked in a wallpaper factory, and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926 when a contract with Galerie la Centaure in Brussels made it possible for him to paint full-time.
 
In 1926, Magritte produced his first surrealist painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu), and held his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927. Critics heaped abuse on the exhibition. Depressed by the failure, he moved to Paris where he became friends with André Breton, and became involved in the surrealist group.
 
When Galerie la Centaure closed and the contract income ended, he returned to Brussels and worked in advertising. Then, with his brother, he formed an agency, which earned him a living wage. During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II he remained in Brussels, which led to a break with Breton. At the time he renounced the violence and pessimism of his earlier work, though he returned to the themes later.
 
His work showed in the United States in New York in 1936 and again in that city in two retrospective exhibitions, one at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, and the other at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992.
 
Magritte died of cancer on August 15, 1967 and was interred in Schaarbeek Cemetery, Brussels.
 
A consummate technician, his work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects, or an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery Of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe, This is not a pipe (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. (In his book, This Is Not a Pipe, French critic Michel Foucault discusses the painting and its paradox.)
 
Note that Magritte pulled the same "stunt" in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit realistically and then used an "internal" caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. It might be true that Magritte's point in these "Ceci n'est pas" works is that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself, per se, as a Kantian noumenon, but capture only an image on the canvas. But that interpretation trivializes Magritte's insight -- for it is true of any painting, and every artist and child would admit it, that what the painting does is only present an image of a thing, and the thing itself is not on or in the canvas. Unless we glued a pipe to the canvas! It might be more plausible to interpret Magritte as commenting on Freudian psychoanalysis -- a topic not very far removed from many of his surrealistic works, anyway. Sigmund Freud, especially in his dream analysis, continually asserted that what clearly and obviously seemed to be an X in a dream was not really an X, that it was an X only patently, on the surface, but not latently or deeply, that the X in the dream represented or was a metaphor for some other thing, Y. The dream-image train is really a penis, for example. So when Magritte says "This is not a pipe," what he means is that it may be possible to think that it is only an image that stands for something else, that the phenomenal reality of the pipe obscures or hides the true reality lying underneath. The difficult question, if we go this far, is whether Magritte intended to provide support for or to illustrate sympathetically Freudian dream analysis -- the treachery of dreams -- or, instead, was mocking it: "You mean this image, which is obviously a pipe-image, is not really a pipe-image? Tell me another!"
 
His art shows a more representational style of surrealism compared to the "automatic" style seen in works by artists like Joan Miró. In addition to fantastic elements, his work is often witty and amusing. He also created a number of surrealist versions of other famous paintings.
 
Paul Simon writes of René and Georgette Magritte in Christopher Street in New York with his song René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War, on the 1983 album Hearts and Bones.
 
Gallery pictures: Rene Magritte - Castle in the Pyrenees,1959, Rene Magritte - The Red Model II, 1939, Rene Magritte - The Dangerous Liaison, Rene Magritte - Time Transfixed, 1939, Rene Magritte - Homage to Mack Sennett, 1934, Rene Magritte - The Son of Man, 1964, Rene Magritte - The Oasis, 1925-27, Rene Magritte - The Gradation of Fire, 1939, Rene Magritte - The False Mirror, 1935, Rene Magritte - The Six Elements, 1928, Rene Magritte
 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


COM-ARTS - FINE ART GALLERIES - Just one private site with my prefered artist: John William Waterhouse, William Bouguereau, Lord Frederick Leighton, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but other artist such as: Jacques Bourboulon, David Hamilton, Grigori Galitsin, Tony Ward, Roy Stuart, Chris Nikolson and many others.
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