Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938
Rene Magritte, The Meaning of Night, 1927
February 14 — June 1, 2014
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926–1938 is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the breakthrough surrealist years of the Belgian artist, René Magritte, creator of some of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary images. It will trace significant strategies and themes from a seminal period in the artist’s career, particularly those of displacement, transformation, metamorphosis, and the “misnaming” of objects, as well as the representation of visions seen in half-waking states. It will also consider some of the material issues of Magritte’s art and the relationship of his paintings to his work in other media, based upon first-hand examination by the exhibition’s curators of all included works. The show will open with a series of paintings and works on paper made in Brussels in 1926 and 1927, marking the onset of Magritte’s heightened engagement with the creation of painted images that could, in his words, “challenge the real world.” It will then follow Magritte to Paris, where he met surrealists like André Breton, Paul Éluard, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí, and back to Brussels, in 1930, where he continued to paint hallucinatory pictures of exceptionally realistic detail. The exhibition will conclude at a historically and biographically significant moment: 1938, just before the outbreak of World War II and the year Magritte delivered his most revealing account of the experience of life and art that made him a surrealist painter.
The exhibition will include some eighty paintings, collages and objects, along with a selection of periodicals, photographs, and rare documents. A richly illustrated, scholarly catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.
The largest privately assembled collection of Magritte works in the world, the Menil Collection is pleased to co-organize Margritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926 - 1938 with two outstanding partner venues– the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition is co-curated by Anne Umland, Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stephanie D’Alessandro, the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Menil Director Josef Helfenstein.
The exhibition will open at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where it will be on view from September 22, 2013–January 13, 2014. Following its presentation at the Menil Collection, the exhibition will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago from June 29–October 12, 2014.
This exhibition is funded in part by the City of Houston.