New York's MoMA exhibition explores Rene Magritte's surrealist work

Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:18pm EDT
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Belgian painter Rene Magritte's work, featuring men in bowler hats, mysterious landscapes and bright blue skies, may be familiar to many art lovers, but a new exhibition focuses attention on the artist's surrealist pieces.

"Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938," which opens on September 28 at the Museum of Modern Art and runs through January 12, covers 13 years in his life - an intense period when he worked in Brussels and Paris refining his technique.

It is the first major show of Magritte's works in New York for more than a generation.

"Over the course of these 13 years, this is when Magritte becomes Magritte," Anne Umland, the show's curator, said in an interview.

"During these years, he is such a player in surrealist art in terms of rethinking the way that images can make the world strange to us."

The exhibition, three years in the making, includes collages, periodicals, photographs and 80 paintings from MoMA's collection, private and institutional lenders.

It begins in Brussels from 1926-1927 with Magritte's early collages and somber, dark works, such as "L'assassin menace" (The Menaced Assassin), which shows the bloodied corpse of a woman in a room, framed by two men wearing bowler hats and another listening to a gramophone, who seems to be oblivious to his surroundings.

"For me, that is the beginning of the way Magritte has this ability to create pictures in which you can identify every part, and yet, they don't have any coherent, logical narrative," Umland said.   Continued...

 
A visitor looks at the painting "The Finery of the Storm" (1927) by artist Rene Magritte during the private opening of the exhibition "Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary" at The Museum of Modern Art in New York September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Lott