It’s Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte’s birthday today (1898 -1967). His witty and strange juxtopositioning of everyday objects became talking points in artistic circles in his own lifetime.
In a range of paintings which Magritte called ‘The treachery of images’ (1928 1929) the artist draws attention to everyday objects like this pipe by writing underneath it (in French) ‘This is not a pipe’ arguing that the painting was just that, an image of a pipe and not a pipe. That’s the sort of quirkiness that made him controversial at the time. Magritte seemed to do a lot of this, each painting became a riddle.
Magritte uses several symbols in his imagery – bells, curtains, clouds, apples, umbrellas and draped objects. These symbols recur throughout his art. It’s as if the artist himself is trying to solve the enigma of these images, (an enigma he has created, I may add)
Though he collaborated with other surrealists such as Man Ray and Yves Tanguy, his relationship with Andre Bretton (founder) was always rocky.
When Belgium was invaded by German in 194o, Magritte fled to France. But his relationship with the Parisian artists was also fraught with difficulties. Magritte adhered to his own ideas. By 1953 the artist was commissioned to paint murals that were destined for the Chandelier Hall in Knokke casino (Belgium) and had also started to make short films. Magritte was creative all his life and a very innovative artist of his time, always willing to enquire, question and push boundaries.
For a more in-depth look at the artist’s life and work look HERE