Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°79

René Magritte highlights the Art of the Surreal Evening Sale

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 28 gennaio 2023

London – René Magritte’s lyrical gouache Le retour (circa 1950, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000) will highlight the 22nd edition of Christie’s annual The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, which will take place on 28 February 2023. Le retour presents a dream-like variation on one of René Magritte’s most poetic motifs: the oiseau de ciel, or ‘sky-bird,’ whose form, captured mid-flight, appears to be hewn from the very environment it inhabits. The subject had first emerged in the artist’s 1940 composition Le retour, now in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, and later in Le baiser (1951) (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). The motif had evolved by the time Magritte created Le baiser, depicting similar subject matter to Le retour (circa 1950) but this time, completely inverting the earlier scenario, with night replacing day in the body of the bird, while the surrounding seascape remained bathed in the soft light of the overcast sky. As such, these two works may be considered pendant pieces, exploring a contrasting but similar visual conundrum. Last seen publicly when auctioned by Christie’s in 2004, Le retour will be on view in New York from 28 to 31 January and Hong Kong from 7 to10 February before being exhibited in London from 22 to 28 February 2023. The variation of one of Magritte’s most recognised themes in Le retour provides a fascinating insight into his practice, especially in relation to his gouaches. While he sometimes created works on paper that were essentially reprisals of subjects previously explored in oil, he explained to the American collector Barnet Hodes, that his works needed to be ‘rethought’ rather than merely reproduced through gouache. The medium allowed him to disseminate his core visual ideas/concepts to a wider audience. The colour allowing him to convey the full meaning of the image, describing texture and weight, the smooth surface of the gouache allowing him to heighten the surreality of the image, and accentuate the fissures or leaps of logic at play in the composition. Over the course of his artistic career, Magritte became increasingly adept at converting his vision of the mysteries of the world into pictures that, through their icon-like simplicity, conveyed their messages all the more strikingly.


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