9781891024665: Magritte

A picture of a pipe is not really a pipe, and a daylight-filled sky can shine over a streetlamp-lit townhouse, and a painting of a window inside a painting of a sitting room can be the window in that sitting room, and a room-sized rock can gaze out of that room at the sea, and, of course, a man is a suit can have a green apple for a face. At least, that is, in the world of Magritte. And who wouldn't want to believe in that world, or at least take pleasure in the ability to recognize parts of it in our own? One of the most charming and beloved of the surrealists, Rena Magritte took a light, witty paintbrush and created a world both familiar and not--but always recognizable in our dreams. His plays on semiotics, identity, the idea of woman, the possibilities inherent in objects, and the idea that everything was not necessarily what it seemed--or what it was supposed to be--are celebrated here in an intelligent retrospective monograph, featuring more than 150 paintings, sculptures, objects, and works on paper. The organization of this catalogue paints Magritte as an innovator, and an artist who has had significant influence on contemporary creators. Accompanying essays, including an introduction by Alain Robbe-Grillet, inventor of the nouveau roman, consider Magritte's influence on modern and contemporary art. Magritte's relationships with his surrealist contemporaries Louis Scutenaire and Andra Breton, and the art dealers Edward James and Alexandre Iolas, are each revealed through individual art historical texts and a selection of unpublished letters. An illustrated chronology is included as well. This catalogue is published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris.

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Review:

This installation of the Modern Master series surveys the work of Rene Magritte, one of the most enigmatic artists of the 20th century and an important figure in the surrealist movement. He combined the commonplace with the fantastic to become the master of "magic realism." Cloud-filled skies, bowler-hatted men, and oversized household objects are in abundance in the more than 60 full-color reproductions included in this volume.

About the Author:

Rene Magritte was born RenE FranAois-Ghislain Magritte in 1898 in Belgium. In March of 1912, Magritte's mother killed herself by jumping into the river Sambre. The next year, the young artist met his future wife, Georgette Berger; the year after that he enrolled as a pupil at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. In the early 1920s, Magritte served in the military, married Georgette, and worked as a graphic artist, primarily drawing motifs for wallpaper. De Chirico provided a strong early influence. Magritte's first painting, a portrait of singer Evelyne BrElia, was sold in 1923, and his first surrealist work, Le Jockey Perdu, was painted in 1926. His first exhibition was held in 1927; soon thereafter, he and Georgette moved near Paris and began to meet other surrealists like MirU, Eluard and Arp. His relationships with the surrealists only deepened over the following years: Magritte published his work in various surrealist journals, vacationed with the DalIs, and exhibited with Edward James. At different points during his mature career, he dramatically changed his painting style, only to return to his original surrealist ways. Magritte died in 1967.

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