René Magritte

René Magritte

Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte created unusual and occasionally unnerving works by painting lifelike representations of commonplace subjects with a strange and often surprising twist. La trahison des images (the treachery of images), 1929, for example, features an image of a basic, brown-and-black pipe, under which we read the paradoxical text: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe (this is not a pipe).” In The Pilgrim, 1966, we see a faithful rendering of a man in a suit and bowler hat, his somber face floating inches away from his body. Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium, in 1989. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, but did not complete his degree, finding inspiration instead in the art circles of both Brussels and Paris. He has been the subject of numerous exhibitions. Retrospectives of Magritte’s work were mounted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1965 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1992. In 2006–07, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art mounted “Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images,” an exhibition that highlighted the artist’s influence on such artists as Andy Warhol and John Baldessari, and on movements including Pop Art and Conceptualism.

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