Published on Dec 24, 2019

Rene Magritte Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Rene Magritte is one of the renowned artists born in Lessines to Leopold and Regina Magritte as the eldest son. His mother killed herself by drowning herself in River Sambre. It was as a result of suffering from depression that his mother committed suicide. He met Georgette Berger who was a wallpaper artist as a child and later was married to her.

  • Born: 21 November 1898, Lessines, Belgium
  • Died: 15 August 1967, Schaerbeek
  • On view: The Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Periods: Surrealism, Art Deco, Cubism, Post-Impressionism, Modern art, Dada
  • Movies: La fidΓ©litΓ© des images
  • Influenced by: AndrΓ© Breton, Sigmund Freud, Jack Boynton

In his teenager, Rene Magritte had served at Belgian infantry in Flemish town. He also worked as a draughtsman in one of the wallpaper factories and worked as poster and advertisement designer. Rene Magritte benefited from a contract from Galerie la Centaure which allowed him to paint all the day long, an opportunity that ended up in his producing his first surreal oil painting entitled The Jockey. This was followed by his first exhibition which was however not taken openly by critics in Brussels. The critic heaped insults in his exhibition making Rene Magritte depressed and relocate to Paris.

In his new location, he was able to make friends with many people such as Andre Breton who introduced him to the surrealist group. When the contract expired Magritte source of income was cut off. At that point, he was forced to go back to Brussels and continue with his earlier work of advertising since he has little influence in Paris during the contract period. He ganged with his brother and formed an agency which became his new source of livelihood. He later was allowed by his patron Edward James to reside in his home without paying rent and carry on with his work of painting. Magritte loved drawing with passion and he got enough encouragement from his father.


At the age of twelve, the young boy had already begun painting as a career. He had joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels where he was meant to acquire the basic techniques certified for painting career. Just like many scholars, Rene Magritte came across various artists that had positive influence in his life as a painter. Although he seemed to have an interest in Futurists movement and Cubism, Giorgio De Chirico surrealist great works gave him true inspiration of his career. From this, Rene Magritte made a resolution to make all of his paintings visual poems.

Magritte remained in Brussels even during the World War II where he adopted a colorful painterly style. This was as a result of his continued isolation and abandonment during his stay in German that was occupied by Belgium. Magritte joined various Belgium artists when he was renouncing violence and pessimism in his work. This was when he painted a proactive and crude Fauve style. He also produced fake Picassos Braques and Chiricos-a fraudulent repertoire together with his brother and other surrealists. However, he later returned to the style and themes of his prewar surrealist art.

The works of Rene Magritte was later exhibited in the United States in New York in 1936 and also in two retrospective exhibitions; once at the Museum of Art in 1965 and another in Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rene Magritte died from pancreatic cancer when he was 69 years.

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