Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte's witty style is instantly recognizable. Known for putting familiar objects in foreign situations, he will forever be associated with the pipe and bowler hat. [Read biography »]
Rene Magritte Biography
René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist whose witty and thought-provoking images challenged observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. Magritte's work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things.
Magritte grew up in a simple and somewhat tragic household. His father was a modest tailor. His mother, who was mentally unsound, committed suicide in the year 1912. Magritte started drawing at a young age, and his first paintings, produced c. 1915, were Impressionistic in style.
Magritte first worked as a draughtsman in a wallpaper factory and, in the year 1922, fell in love with and married Georgette Berger. In 1926, Magritte signed a contract with Galerie La Centaure in Brussels, making it possible for him to paint full-time. During this time, inspired by his friend André Breton, he became involved with the Surrealist group.
During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, he stayed in Brussels. He continued to paint, gaining increased recognition. His work was exhibited in the United States in New York multiple times, including 2 retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1967, Magritte died of pancreatic cancer, his imagery having greatly influenced pop, minimalist, and conceptual art.
Rene Magritte was a Belgian Surrealist who developed an instantly recognizable, witty style. Known for putting familiar objects in foreign situations, he will forever be associated with the pipe and bowler hat, as Duchamp and the urinal are permanently related.
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