René Magritte, ‘Le Beau Monde’, Posthumous Cast, Art Lithographies
René Magritte, ‘Le Beau Monde’, Posthumous Cast, Art Lithographies
René Magritte, ‘Le Beau Monde’, Posthumous Cast, Art Lithographies

Patinated bronze sculpture after René Magritte, casted in France using the lost-wax method after the painting by René Magritte, Le Beau Monde, 1962. Inscribed with René Magritte's signature, Magritte Succession's hallmark, stamped by the foundry and with Mr. Charly Herscovici's (President of the Magritte Foundation & representing the Magritte Succession) casted thumbprint under the base.

"We are surrounded by curtains”, Magritte writes. “We only perceive the world behind a curtain of semblance. At the same time, an object needs to be covered in order to be recognized at all.”

The veiling and unveiling of things hidden is a recurring leitmotif in his œuvre. Curtains, picture frames, window openings, and easels are elements which he employed to stage his “picture-within-the-picture” compositions. his ideas of “invisible visibility” and of the picture as “thought made visible” formed the basis of such works.

Magritte’s "Le Beau Monde" can be considered part of a series of paintings that explored the theme of the occult through the use of recurrent elements such as the clouded skies and curtains. A variation on "La Joconde" of 1960, the predominant blue and the positioning of singular draped curtains were employed by the artist in "L’image en soi", 1961 , "L’ovation", 1962, as well as "La peine perdue", 1962.

The painting is composed of two draped curtains standing against a clouded sky. Between them materializes a figure of cloud-dotted sky adopting the shape of the drapes and in the forefront a green apple of significant size attracts the viewer's eye.

The curtains are abundantly used in the artist's work and resemble the sort one finds in theaters, thus serving as objects that reveal the unknown. In his analysis of these curtains, Jacques Meuris explains:

"One way of looking at them is as a technical device. They are usually shown with loops, giving them the appearance of open stage drapes, and they enable the artist, through a process of optical illusion, to locate the planes of his image within the pictorial space. Another way of looking at these drapes is a way of suggesting the fallacious nature of the painted picture in relation to what it actually represents. Hence the idea of the stage set, to which the drapes lend emphasis". (Meuris, J. Magritte, Greenwich Editions 1988, p. 169)

Signature: Inscribed with René Magritte's signature, Magritte Succession's hallmark, stamped by the foundry and with Mr. Charly Herscovici's (President of the Magritte Foundation & representing the Magritte Succession) casted thumbprint under the base.

Image rights: Raphaële Kriegel & Art-Lithographies.

About René Magritte

With his highly cerebral Surrealist imagery, René Magritte breathed new life into seemingly conventional subject matter. He often painted everyday objects out of context, in juxtapositions forcing the viewer to reconsider things normally taken for granted. In his iconic trompe l’oeil work The Treachery of Images (1928-29), for example, Magritte painted a hyperrealistic pipe and wrote, just beneath it, “this is not a pipe”—a caution not to trust our eyes and reminder that the art object, no matter how convincing, is not the real thing. Magritte’s highly figurative style of Surrealism is often discussed along the work of Salvador Dalí and Giorgio de Chirico, and his persistent interrogation of objects has both influenced and paved the way for seminal artistic movements, from Conceptualism to Pop art.

Belgian, 1898-1967, Lessines, Belgium, based in Brussels, Belgium