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René Magritte Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
René Magritte (1898-1967)
René was born in Belgium and in 1922 he married Georgette Berger. In 1925, Magritte painted what he considered to be his first major work, in 1927, he held his first one-man show at the Galérie Le Centaure. He toyed with everyday objects, human habits and emotions, placing them in foreign contexts and questioning their familiar meanings. He rehabilitated the object. He made the commonplace profound and the rational irrational. His work goes beyond escapism and serves to reveal some of the murkier and complex aspects of the human condition.
Time Transfixed
Voice of Space
Human Condition
Lola de Valence
Lovers
Perspective
Personal Values
Son of Man

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Voice of Space
(La Voix des airs), 1931. Oil on canvas, 72.7 x 54.2 cm.

Influenced by Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte sought to strip objects of their usual functions and meanings in order to convey an irrationally compelling image. In Voice of Space (of which three other oil versions exist), the bells float in the air; elsewhere they occupy human bodies or replace blossoms on bushes. By distorting the scale, weight, and use of an ordinary object and inserting it into a variety of unaccustomed contexts, Magritte confers on that object a fetishistic intensity. He has written of the jingle bell, a motif that recurs often in his work: “I caused the iron bells hanging from the necks of our admirable horses to sprout like dangerous plants at the edge of an abyss.”

The disturbing impact of the bells presented in an unfamiliar setting is intensified by the cool academic precision with which they and their environment are painted. The dainty slice of landscape could be the backdrop of an early Renaissance painting, while the bells themselves, in their rotund and glowing monumentality, impart a mysterious resonance.

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