The painter René Magritte (1898–1967) was a conjurer of enigmatic paintings. In a concentrated solo exhibition devoted to the great Belgian Surrealist, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt explores his relationship to the philosophical currents of his time.
Magritte did not see himself as an artist, but rather as a thinking human being who conveyed his thoughts through his painting. Throughout his life he sought to imbue painting with meaning equal to that of language. Driven by his curiosity and his affinities with some of the leading philosophers of his age, such as Michael Foucault, he created a remarkable body of work and developed an altered view of the world that is reflected in a unique combination of masterfully precise painting and conceptual processes.
The exhibition sheds light on Magritte’s philosophical investigations in five chapters. His word pictures reflect his fundamental views on the relationship between language and visual imagery. Other essential pictorial formulas are concerned with legends and myths associated with the invention and definition of painting. The quasi-scientific method Magritte applied in his painting bears witness to his distrust of simple answers and simplistic realism.
René Magritte, La Lampe philosophique, 1936, Oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm, Private collection © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
The Schirn is presenting Magritte’s masterpieces of enigmatic painting from the 1920s to the 1960s, among them his emblematic self-portrait entitled "La Lampe philosophique" (1936),
René Magritte, La Condition Humaine, 1935, Oil on canvas, 54 x 73 cm, Norfolk Museums Service (accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery) © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, Les Mémoires d’un saint, 1960, Oil on canvas, 80 x 99,7 cm, The Menil Collection, Houston © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017"Les Mémoires d’un Saint" (1960),
René Magritte, Le beau monde, 1962, Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm, Private collection, Courtesy Sotheby’s © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
"Le Beau Monde" (1962),
and "L’Heureux Donateur" (1966).
René Magritte, L'Heureux donateur, 1966, Oil on canvas, 55,5 x 45,5 cm, Musée d'Ixelles-Brussels, Photo: Mixed Media © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, Les Amants, 1928, Oil on canvas, 54 x 73.4 cm, New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Gift of Richard S. Zeisler, Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, La colère des dieux, 1960, Oil on canvas, 80 x 70 cm, Private collection © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, La réponse imprévue, 1933, Oil on canvas, 82 x 54,4 cm, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Photo: J. Geleyns - Ro scan / Charly Herscovici, with his kind authorization – c/o SABAM-ADAGP, 2016 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, La main heureuse, 1953, Oil on canvas 50,5 x 65 cm, Collection Diane SA, Photo: Nicolas Giudice – Objectif- Fontaine –l’Evêque (Belgium) © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, Variante de la tristesse, 1957, Oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm, Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, Photo: Acorn Photo, Perth © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, This is not a pipe, 1935, Oil on canvas, 27 × 41 cm, Private collection © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, L’Art de la conversation, 1950, Oil on canvas, 51.4 × 59.1 cm, New Orleans Museum of Art, Gift of William H. Alexander, 56.61 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
René Magritte, Le palais de rideaux III, 1928/29, Oil on canvas, 81.2 x 116.4 cm, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
The exhibition features some 70 artworks, including numerous masterpieces from major international museums as well as public and private collections, among them the Musée Magritte in Brussels, the Kunstmuseum Bern, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..
Didier Ottinger, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris; Dr. Martina Weinhart, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
MAGRITTE. THE TREACHERY OF IMAGES
Edited by Didier Ottinger. Foreword by Philipp Demandt. Essays by Jan Blanc, Barbara Cassin, Michel Draguet, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Didier Ottinger, Klaus Speidel, and Victor I. Stoichita. 208 pp., 28.0 x 23.5 cm (vertical format), 157 color illustrations, Prestel Verlag, Munich, London, New York, 2017, ISBN 978-3-7913-6723-1,