René Magritte, ‘L’empire des lumières’, 1955, Christie's

Signature: signed 'magritte' (lower right); titled '"L’EMPIRE DES LUMIÈRES"'(on the reverse)

Paris, Galerie « Cahiers d'art », Exposition de peintures & gouaches de René Magritte, December 1955-January 1956, no. 2 or 3.

Letter from R. Magritte to A. Iolas, 16 December 1955.

Letter from R. Magritte to A. Iolas, 19 December 1955.

D. Sylvester, ed., René Magritte: Catalogue raisonné, Gouaches, Temperas, Watercolours and Papiers Collés, 1918-1967, London, 1994, vol. IV, p. 173, no. 1388 (illustrated).

Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Paris (acquired from the artist, 1955).

Mme Conrad Schlumberger, Paris (acquired from the above).

Private collection, Europe (by descent from the above); sale, Sotheby's, London, 22 June 2011, lot 6.

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

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