Last month Luxuryactivist team went to Magritte museum in Brussels – Belgium. It is the biggest collection in the world for Magritte work with more than 150 paintings but also with several documents and belongings of the artist. We visited the permanent collection and if you are visiting Brussels for a day or a weekend, do not hesitate to visit the Magritte Museum.
The Magritte Museum is located in an old neoclassical building from the late eighteenth century and part of an architectural ensemble built after the fire of Coudenberg palace in 1731. Over the centuries, the owners have succeeded to transform it into a hotel, jewelry and finally a museum.
Place Royale and the surrounding buildings are historical testimony of Belgium under the “Ancien Régime” and its independence. It is on this spot that was held the enthronement ceremony of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, King of the Belgians, 21 July 1831, fifty years after its construction.
In 1951, the facades and porches along the Place Royale will be recognized for their architectural and historical interest and will be permanently protected from modification by order of ranking on the Heritage List of Belgium.
The importance of the work of René Magritte and his international fame requested a space dedicated to the communication of the artist and his work. In 2007, the project of a future Magritte Museum in the old hotel Altenloh was born. The adaptation work begun the following year and was completed in 2009.
Inaugurated on the 20th of May 2009, the Magritte Museum opened its doors to the public on June 2nd 2009 in a building of 2,500 m2 belonging to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The works presented are derived mainly from purchases and legacies of Irène Scutenaire-Hamoir and Georgette Magritte.
There is another museum about Magritte Rue Esseghem 135 in Brussels. It is located at the former house of the artist where he lived from 1930 to 1954
For the exhibition it self, you will need between 2 hours to 2 hours and half to cover all the surface split in 3 floors. So take your time. Audio guides are available in several languages so that you can really dive into the painter’s universe.
What can we say about Magritte? He was born in 1898 in Belgium and was considered as a Surrealist artist. He became very well known for a number of provoking images that felt under the umbrella of surrealism. But was he really surrealist? Not at the beginning of his career but step by step that his style got clearer, we can say that the entire character of Magritte was a kind of Surrealist :-).
Magritte always said about Art: “Art must represent something new. Any reference to the past designate weakness”
He was influenced in his work by artists like Gerico. The taste for mystery, darkness and enigmatic characters. There is a little of Salvador Dali in Magritte… or the other way round. Magritte was obsessed by the mysteries of life, of the universe. For him every single person or object had a hidden mystery. And part of his work was to reveal this mystery in every thing.
Magritte always followed the surrealists. After a great success of an exhibition in Brussels in 1927. he decided to live in Paris. He studied words in general, changed its senses in order to express a feeling of freedom. Objects or images on a canvas were organized as sentences and its order chosen by the artist himself. Magritte’s work frequently displays a collection of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting.
During the 30’s and the crisis, Magritte did a lot of work for advertising and although some artists fellows did not see this with a good eye, Magritte got the recognition of his talent anyway and from the 40’s he could live from his art.
Some artists love to do Portraits, others don’t. Magritte definitely was not a Portrait artist. Nevertheless he executed some of them, mostly of his wife , her daughter or some friends. For example this portrait of Adrienne Crowet of 1940.
After a while, Magritte reputation bring him to meet Alexandre Lolas, a greek art gallerist and collector with several businesses in Europe and in the USA.
Lolas will bring Magritte’s work to New York and a first exhibition will take place in April 1947 at the Hugo Gallery. The Hugo Gallery was founded by Robert Rothschild, Elizabeth Arden and Maria dei Principi Ruspoli Hugo operated between 1945 and 1955. The Hugo gallery was initially on East 55th Street and Madison Avenue. This place was known for its specialization on Surrealism and Magritte got the perfect way to start in the USA. His reputation was really strong there and in 1966, one year before his death, the MOMA in NY dedicated an art retrospective of his work and brought Magritte to the level of Master.
René Magritte was a great influence to many contemporary artists. To list the most important ones:
- Andy Warhol
- Jasper Johns
- Martin Kippenberger
- Storm Thorgerson
- Duane Michals
Here are some of the paintings we found very interesting during the exhibition.
So if you wish to visit the museum, here are the practical information:
Tel: 02 508 32 11
Monday – closed
Tuesdays to Sundays 10:00 to 17:00
You can also visit the official website for more information:
Poetry is on the Pipe…
Info sourced at Magritte Museum and wikipedia. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.