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René MAGRITTE

Belgian René MAGRITTE

born René François Ghislain MAGRITTE

Belgian surrealist artist

Source :  Gérard TASSET

Born: on November 21, 1898 in Lessines, Belgium, Belgium
Died: on August 15, 1967 in Brussels, Belgium


Biography

Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, the eldest son of Léopold Magritte, who was a tailor and textile merchant, and Régina (née Bertinchamps), a milliner until her marriage. Little is known about Magritte's early life. He began lessons in drawing in 1910. On 12 March 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. This was not her first attempt; she had made many over a number of years, driving her husband Léopold to lock her into her bedroom. One day she escaped, and was missing for days. She was later discovered a mile or so down the river, dead. According to a legend, 13 year old Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water, but recent research has discredited this story, which may have originated with the family nurse. Supposedly, when his mother was found her dress was covering her face, an image that has been suggested as the source of several paintings Magritte painted in 1927–1928 of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants.

Magritte's earliest paintings, which date from about 1915, were Impressionistic in style. From 1916 to 1918 he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, but found the instruction uninspiring. The paintings he produced during the years 1918–1924 were influenced by Futurism and by the offshoot of Cubism practiced by Metzinger. Most of his works of this period are female nudes.

In 1922 Magritte married Georgette Berger, whom he had met as a child in 1913. From December 1920 until September 1921, Magritte served in the Belgian infantry in the Flemish town of Beverlo near Leopoldsburg. He worked as a draughtsman in a wallpaper factory, and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926, when a contract with Galerie la Centaure in Brussels made it possible for him to paint full-time. In 1926, Magritte produced his first surreal painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu), and held his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927. Critics heaped abuse on the exhibition. Depressed by the failure, he moved to Paris where he became friends with André Breton, and became involved in the surrealist group.

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See Also :

- Category Painter