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Magritte af Jacques Meuris
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Magritte (original 2009; udgave 2007)

af Jacques Meuris

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422360,282 (3.95)2
The artist's most unforgettable images come together in an exquisite study of his life and work. This comprehensive and provocative monograph traces the influences on Magritte's art while 400 illustrations show the full range of his work. Not only the well-known paintings but also lesser-known murals, photographs, sculptures, and commercial works are represented. 400 illustrations, 110 in full-color.… (mere)
Medlem:Shadow123
Titel:Magritte
Forfattere:Jacques Meuris
Info:Taschen (2007), Edition: 25th, Hardcover, 216 pages
Samlinger:Læser for øjeblikket
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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Magritte af Jacques Meuris (2009)

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Expert art critic Jacques Meuris provides seven sparkling detailed essays on the life and art of the great Belgian Surrealist, René Magritte (1898-1967). Also included in this Taschen publication are dozens and dozens of full-color plates of the artist’s work. As a very small sample of what a reader will find in the coffee table book’s pages, below are quotes from the esteemed art critic coupled with my comments:

Jacques Meuris relates an event having a profound influence on Magritte: the suicide of his mother: “The story is sometimes repeated that Magritte and his two brothers had gone to look for their mother and had found her body practically naked, but for a wet night-dress that had ridden up and was sticking to her skin.” ---------- I can imagine the profound effect this experience must have had on a sensitive, artistic soul at the tender age of fourteen - not only the fact of his mother’s suicide but also the stark image of his mother lying face down, nearly naked. This episode would undoubtedly incline a number of art historians and critics to assess the artist’s work with Freudian overtones.

“The female nude, a central theme in many of his pictures, he obviously regarded mostly as a “thing” like any other motif, animate or inanimate. Treated sculpturally in many cases, the female body is just as much an object of desire as a visual display. Given that woman is, however, the symbol of a secret so actively pursued, perhaps Magritte was fascinated not so much by eroticism as such as by the latent invocation of complex mysteries.” ---------- Ah, the mystery of the female body. An artist need not necessarily link the female body with eroticism to be endlessly fascinated with all the complexities and mysteries leading directly to cosmological or ontological mysteries.

Nude, 1919 -- Early Magritte, painted when the artist was 21 years of age.

“In actual fact, Magritte penetrated still further into his subconscious: he recounted how in an old cemetery he had once met a little girl who became the object of his dreams, and who found herself “translated to the lively atmospheres of stations, parties and towns which I created for her.” From here it was not very far to his highly individual Alice in Wonderland.” ---------- How do we know we are really awake and not dreaming? Do we really know where a dream begins and a dream ends? The difference between waking and dreaming isn’t a clear dichotomy of black and white, as artist Magritte very well knew. There are many elements of dream and dreamscapes infused, blended and mixed into our so called waking reality. Thus, the universal appeal of much of Magritte’s art.

Alice in Wonderland - Magritte's version of Caroll's tale. Actually, Magritte despised the fact Lewis Caroll considered his fables as so many dreams.

“What is concealed is more important than what is open to view: this was true both of his own fears and of his manner of depicting the mysterious. If he wrapped a body in linen, if he spread curtains or wall-hangings, if he concealed heads under hoods, then it was not so much to hide as to achieve an effect of alienation.” ---------- Unlike many other types of painting such as impressionism or expressionism, where the eye of a viewer discovers more and more detail with each viewing, Magritte is of a different order – it isn’t our eyes so much as our cognitive conceptions and preconceptions that must be engaged. Even without a linen covering, when we peer into someone’s face, how clearly do we really see the other person and how deep is our connection to those we claim to see? Is alienation, isolation and separation from others our human condition?

Magritte's The Lovers

“Magritte did not dream while painting – he saw himself as a “realist painter” dominated by the inspirations which emanated from his thoughts – but the fact remains that he saw the pictorial likeness as a means of “objectifying the subjective.” ---------- And that’s “objectifying the subjective” as in starting with one’s individual feelings in approaching abstract ideas and then expressing those abstract ideas in particular concrete terms. With his Golconde, I strongly suspect Magritte had strong feelings about the routinization and standardization of much of modern life. For me, this painting has an immediate power far surpassing any sociological theory.

Magritte's Golconde

“A Surrealist just one year after the publication of Breton’s “Manifesto” Magritte chose to become a “realistic painter”, one for whom reality – in other words, what we see all the time – is the privileged medium for turning convention in its head and transforming it into an enigma and, at the same time, revealing to the greatest degree possible, the mystery that it contains within it.” ---------- It is the combination that defines the Surrealist turn. With Treasure Island we behold birds as plants or is that plants as birds, growing not in a fertile field but on a barren shore. Yet again another variation on the Surrealist “Where the umbrella meets the sewing machine on the operating table.”

Magritte's Treasure Island

“Magritte wrote a great deal: letters, pamphlets, manifestos, explanatory texts on his intentions. Reluctant as he often seems to have been to do so, he was frequently asked to explain his paintings and to make them comprehensible.” ---------- What is your painting about, sir? What does it represent? Perhaps one way of approaching such questions would be in the spirit of a patent John Cage reply: “That question is so interesting, I wouldn’t want to spoil it with an answer.”

Magritte's Zeno's Arrow

“His painting choice was based, from the very beginning of his definitely Surrealist period, on an observation whose actual implications were not understood until later: namely that by the most faithful reproductions of objects, things – including people – and all that we see around us in everyday life, one can force the beholders of these images to question their own condition.” ---------- That’s the eerie thing – common everyday objects placed in extraordinary settings.

Magritte's The Listening Room

“Trends such as Pop Art and Hyperrealism, which arose in the 50s and 70s respectively, have also acknowledged their links with Magritte. Why? Because in common with his work, the doubting and questioning of reality.” ---------- Ha! It never occurred to me to link Magritte’s huge rocks in the sky with Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes, but, on further reflection, there is a common ground: ordinary objects cast in a strikingly incongruous setting – rocks in the sky, Brillo Boxes in a museum.

This is not a photo. Believe it or not, this is acrylic on canvas. The spirit of Magritte lives on in contemporary artists such as Canadian Hyperrealist Jason De Graaf. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |


Expert art critic Jacques Meuris provides seven sparkling detailed essays on the life and art of the great Belgian Surrealist, René Magritte (1898-1967). Also included in this Taschen publication are dozens and dozens of full-color plates of the artist’s work. As a very small sample of what a reader will find in the coffee table book’s pages, below are quotes from the esteemed art critic coupled with my comments:

Jacques Meuris relates an event having a profound influence on Magritte: the suicide of his mother: “The story is sometimes repeated that Magritte and his two brothers had gone to look for their mother and had found her body practically naked, but for a wet night-dress that had ridden up and was sticking to her skin.” ---------- I can imagine the profound effect this experience must have had on a sensitive, artistic soul at the tender age of fourteen - not only the fact of his mother’s suicide but also the stark image of his mother lying face down, nearly naked. This episode would undoubtedly incline a number of art historians and critics to assess the artist’s work with Freudian overtones.

“The female nude, a central theme in many of his pictures, he obviously regarded mostly as a “thing” like any other motif, animate or inanimate. Treated sculpturally in many cases, the female body is just as much an object of desire as a visual display. Given that woman is, however, the symbol of a secret so actively pursued, perhaps Magritte was fascinated not so much by eroticism as such as by the latent invocation of complex mysteries.” ---------- Ah, the mystery of the female body. An artist need not necessarily link the female body with eroticism to be endlessly fascinated with all the complexities and mysteries leading directly to cosmological or ontological mysteries.

Nude, 1919 -- Early Magritte, painted when the artist was 21 years of age.

“In actual fact, Magritte penetrated still further into his subconscious: he recounted how in an old cemetery he had once met a little girl who became the object of his dreams, and who found herself “translated to the lively atmospheres of stations, parties and towns which I created for her.” From here it was not very far to his highly individual Alice in Wonderland.” ---------- How do we know we are really awake and not dreaming? Do we really know where a dream begins and a dream ends? The difference between waking and dreaming isn’t a clear dichotomy of black and white, as artist Magritte very well knew. There are many elements of dream and dreamscapes infused, blended and mixed into our so called waking reality. Thus, the universal appeal of much of Magritte’s art.

Alice in Wonderland - Magritte's version of Caroll's tale. Actually, Magritte despised the fact Lewis Caroll considered his fables as so many dreams.

“What is concealed is more important than what is open to view: this was true both of his own fears and of his manner of depicting the mysterious. If he wrapped a body in linen, if he spread curtains or wall-hangings, if he concealed heads under hoods, then it was not so much to hide as to achieve an effect of alienation.” ---------- Unlike many other types of painting such as impressionism or expressionism, where the eye of a viewer discovers more and more detail with each viewing, Magritte is of a different order – it isn’t our eyes so much as our cognitive conceptions and preconceptions that must be engaged. Even without a linen covering, when we peer into someone’s face, how clearly do we really see the other person and how deep is our connection to those we claim to see? Is alienation, isolation and separation from others our human condition?

Magritte's The Lovers

“Magritte did not dream while painting – he saw himself as a “realist painter” dominated by the inspirations which emanated from his thoughts – but the fact remains that he saw the pictorial likeness as a means of “objectifying the subjective.” ---------- And that’s “objectifying the subjective” as in starting with one’s individual feelings in approaching abstract ideas and then expressing those abstract ideas in particular concrete terms. With his Golconde, I strongly suspect Magritte had strong feelings about the routinization and standardization of much of modern life. For me, this painting has an immediate power far surpassing any sociological theory.

Magritte's Golconde

“A Surrealist just one year after the publication of Breton’s “Manifesto” Magritte chose to become a “realistic painter”, one for whom reality – in other words, what we see all the time – is the privileged medium for turning convention in its head and transforming it into an enigma and, at the same time, revealing to the greatest degree possible, the mystery that it contains within it.” ---------- It is the combination that defines the Surrealist turn. With Treasure Island we behold birds as plants or is that plants as birds, growing not in a fertile field but on a barren shore. Yet again another variation on the Surrealist “Where the umbrella meets the sewing machine on the operating table.”

Magritte's Treasure Island

“Magritte wrote a great deal: letters, pamphlets, manifestos, explanatory texts on his intentions. Reluctant as he often seems to have been to do so, he was frequently asked to explain his paintings and to make them comprehensible.” ---------- What is your painting about, sir? What does it represent? Perhaps one way of approaching such questions would be in the spirit of a patent John Cage reply: “That question is so interesting, I wouldn’t want to spoil it with an answer.”

Magritte's Zeno's Arrow

“His painting choice was based, from the very beginning of his definitely Surrealist period, on an observation whose actual implications were not understood until later: namely that by the most faithful reproductions of objects, things – including people – and all that we see around us in everyday life, one can force the beholders of these images to question their own condition.” ---------- That’s the eerie thing – common everyday objects placed in extraordinary settings.

Magritte's The Listening Room

“Trends such as Pop Art and Hyperrealism, which arose in the 50s and 70s respectively, have also acknowledged their links with Magritte. Why? Because in common with his work, the doubting and questioning of reality.” ---------- Ha! It never occurred to me to link Magritte’s huge rocks in the sky with Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes, but, on further reflection, there is a common ground: ordinary objects cast in a strikingly incongruous setting – rocks in the sky, Brillo Boxes in a museum.

This is not a photo. Believe it or not, this is acrylic on canvas. The spirit of Magritte lives on in contemporary artists such as Canadian Hyperrealist Jason De Graaf.



( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
http://culturalsnow.blogspot.com/2009/03/ceci-nest-pas-une-langue.html

Small Boo has given me a rather splendid book about my favourite painter, René Magritte. Not only does it include all the images that have become stale through repetition on postcards and tea-towels, it also devotes a lot of space to some of the less familiar pieces, including paintings from the 1940s, when Magritte experimented with a looser style, some of them strongly influenced by Renoir and Matisse; as well as photographs and bronzes.

Throughout the shifts in style and medium, however, Magritte’s big idea persists: superficially ordinary, even banal subject matter, rendered bizarre and even threatening by juxtaposition and tweaking. A man with an apple for a face; boots becoming feet; a flaming euphonium; a pipe that isn’t.

The only downside is that the accompanying text seems to follow a similar trajectory. It’s comprehensible as English, but not comfortably so; the reader just about understands what’s meant, but every few lines, there’s an eye in your slice of ham. This may be the fault of author Jacques Meuris, but I’m inclined to point the finger at translator Michael Scuffil. Here are a few choice morsels:

“The brush technique with its contrasts and glissandi calls forth immaterial, impalpable impressions.”

“It is moreover an example of his attempts on the moral plane to harmonize the meaning he gave to his work as a painter with that of his life.”

“Magritte was never a friend of symbols in painting, though in poetry perhaps.”

“The total rejection of the gratuitous was one of the constant features of Magritte’s attitude.”

“All that was left for this oeuvre was to topple over into its destiny in 1967.” ( )
2 stem TimFootman | Mar 1, 2009 |
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The artist's most unforgettable images come together in an exquisite study of his life and work. This comprehensive and provocative monograph traces the influences on Magritte's art while 400 illustrations show the full range of his work. Not only the well-known paintings but also lesser-known murals, photographs, sculptures, and commercial works are represented. 400 illustrations, 110 in full-color.

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