By the end of the 1920s René Magritte had established his signature approach to painting, developing a realistic style that he used not to reinforce but to undermine the viewer’s acceptance of what is real. Memories of a Voyage: The Late Work of René Magritte focuses on the artist’s work made during the post–World War II period. Magritte would continue to paint seriously until the end of his life in 1967, his reputation expanding in tandem with the increasing visibility and popularity of Surrealism in the United States.
Magritte often revisited and reinterpreted themes from earlier paintings, creating variations on his already established iconography. At the same time, he continued to develop new imagery that became some of his most recognizable motifs. These include subjects like the bowler-hatted man in Golconda, and the landscape in which daylight and evening coincide in The Dominion of Light, 1954, one of more than twenty variations he made on the theme starting in 1949.
The artworks featured in Memories of a Voyage: The Late Work of René Magritte are drawn primarily from the Menil Collection’s deep holdings of the artist’s work, which are rivaled only by those of the Musée Magritte in Brussels. The exhibition is presented simultaneously with Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary: 1926-1938, a project focused on the formative years of Magritte’s career. Visitors therefore have a rare opportunity to experience the full scope of the artist’s career.
Memories of a Voyage: The Late Work of René Magritte brings together approximately 20 works dating from 1941 to1967. Oil paintings are shown alongside seldom-seen preparatory drawings. The exhibition also showcases gouaches—a medium Magritte relied on more and more heavily over this period, as well as two rare painted bottles, only about 25 of which are known to be extant, and one large-scale bronze sculpture.
Memories of a Voyage: The Late Work of René Magritte is organized by the Menil Collection and curated by Clare Elliott with Josef Helfenstein.
This exhibition is generously supported by Frost Bank; Skadden, Arps; and the City of Houston.
Photos: Paul Hester