Rene Magritte (Surrealist Artist)



2015-06-26 10:45:44

Rene Magritte was a celebrated Belgian surrealist artist.


Rene Magritte belonged to a middle class family and his father was a tailor. He was born on 21st November, 1898 in a small town in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. Rene’s mother committed suicide when Rene was only 14 years old and his mother’s tragic end left a lifelong influence on his paintings.

Magritte had his early schooling at the Royal Academy of Arts in Brussels. He later went on to become a commercial artist painting doing paintings for advertisements. It was in 1922, Rene married Georgette Berger. After his poor solo show in Brussels in 1927, he left for Paris, where he lived for three years and established a close friendship with Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Paul Eluard.

In 1930, he returned to Brussels and his publicity grew as well as his surrealist works were shown in numerous exhibitions all over the world. Compared to his counterparts, Magritte lived a quite and inconspicuous life by not attracting much attention as he lived rather uneventfully.

Magritte finally left a legacy where he transformed the ordinary into the incredible. Magritte died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69 on 15th August, 1967 in Brussels.

Guide For Collectors

Before deciding to buy a Rene Magritte painting, collectors are advised to do a bit of homework by shopping and looking around so that they do not end up buying a reproduction passed off as an original. They can also search the internet for a more detailed information on the painting, its prices, and the size of the print against its documentation.

The Rene Magritte Foundation set up in Brussels safeguards the artist's works and they have a committee for the Authentification of Works done by Rene Magritte. A small tip for those who intend to buy an original is that Rene Magritte paintings are primarily of the surrealist style and was mysterious albeit magical.

He combined the realistic everyday depiction of objectivity and combined it with the known discrepancy and the perception it had on everyday life, which can be best seen in his 1929 painting “Betrayal of the Images.” Rene’s subjects were ordinary, people, doors, windows, chairs, trees, shoes, landscapes, and the like. Rather than being obscure, he wanted to reach out confuse and displace a little through his bland expressionless advertisement style to create an unreal, unthinkable reality.

In his final year, Rene focused more on sculptures of his paintings, which indicated the combination of mental and material realism. A large number of his works is exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Magritte Museum in Brussels also has over 200 original Magritte paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in collaboration with the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, plans to hold an exhibition from 16th March 2012 to 15th July 2012. The subject of the exhibition will be “Surrealism in Paris” and they will be exhibiting numerous Rene Magritte paintings.

Most Expensive Works

Rene Magritte was the most expensive surrealist artist on the market after 7th May 2002 when his painting L'empire des lumieres went for a record sum of $12.7 Million (against an estimated pre-sale range of $5M and $7M) at a sale at Christie’s New York. At the time, no surrealist works had ever generated such a high price and it remained at the top of the Surrealist price ranking until 2007.

The same year on 6th February 2007, another Rene Magritte work, Le pretre marie fetched $10.3 Million at Christie's London. Since then there have been other Magritte works which have come close and they include Le sabbat on 18th June 2007 for $8.9 Million at Christie's London. The buyer’s premium has been included in all the auctioned prices.

Most Famous Works

Rene’s popularity was at this peak during the sixties, and his works had great influence on the pop culture and conceptual art. His works can be seen in book covers, movie posters, pop albums, and advertisements. Examples include album covers for Jeff Beck Group, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, and Oregon.

The Lost Jockey was the first painting that Magritte allowed to be classified as surrealist. Some of his outstanding works include The Explanation, Companions of Fear, The Empire of Lights and The Flavor of Tears.

Rene used visual perception, mirrors, and illusion such as the ones used in The Beautiful World, The False Mirror, and The Key to the Fields. Sotheby's Paris will be offering a painting by Rene Magritte during November 2011 titled Lettre autographe signée et illustrée . Datée "samedi", (vers 1944) for an estimate ranging between 25,000 and 30,000 Euros.

Christie’s Amsterdam will also be auctioning a Rene Magritte painting, “Triptyque formant paravent, composition” on 15th November 2011 for an estimate ranging between 50,000 and 70,000 Euros.

Incidentally, Christie's New York sold a Rene Magritte painting Les vacances de Hegel on 1st November, 2011 for $10.1 Million. Four other paintings that generated considerable interest during 2011 are Souvenir de voyage which went for $8 Million at Christie's London on 21 June 2011, and L’aimant that went for $7.7 Million also at Christie's London on 9 February 2011, Quand l'heure sonnera that went for $6 Million at Sotheby's New York on 3rd May 2011 and Le Chevalier du couchant that went for $4 Million also at Sotheby's New York on 2nd November 2011.

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