Artist of the Week: Rene Magritte
"My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question 'What does that mean'? It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."- René MagritteRene Magritte was a groundbreaking Surrealist who combined wit and illusion. Magritte, who originally designed wallpaper, posters and ads, began painting full time after receiving a gallery contract. In Magritte’s signature style, he places ordinary objects in unexpected contexts, often blocked faces with floating objects to challenge preconceptions about the unknown.
The Human Condition series, painted between 1933 and 1935. "The Human Condition" ("La condition humaine") refers to a number of works, of which the two most famous are both oil on canvas paintings. There are also a number of drawings of the same name.
The 1960s brought a great increase in public awareness of Magritte's work. One of the means by which his imagery became familiar to a wider public was through reproduction on rock album covers including, the 1969 album Beck-Ola by the Jeff Beck group, Jackson Browne's 1974 album, Late for the Sky, and the Firesign Theatre's album Just Folks . . . A Firesign Chat. Styx adapted Magritte's Carte Blanche for the cover of their 1977 album The Grand Illusion, while the cover of John Foxx's 2001 The Pleasures of Electricity, was based on Magritte's painting Le Principe du Plaisir. Jethro Tull mentions Magritte on a 1976 album and Paul Simon's song "Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War" appears on the 1983 album Hearts and Bones. Paul McCartney, a life-long fan of Magritte, owns many of his paintings, and claims that a Magritte painting inspired him to use the name Apple for the Beatles' media corporation. Magritte is also the subject and title of a John Cale song on the 2003 album HoboSapiens.