Galerie Le Centaure, Brussels (acquired from the above in 1929)
Edouard-Léon-Théodore Mesens, Brussels (acquired from the above in 1932-33)
Thence by descent to the present owner
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunstverein und Kunsthaus, René Magritte und der Surrealismus in Belgien, 1982, no. 120
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Magritte e il surrealsimo in Belgio, 1982, no. 119
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, René Magritte et le surréalisme en Belgique, 1982, no. 134
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Magritte 1898-1967, 1998, no. 54, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Marcel Mariën (ed.), La Partie fondue de l’iceberg, Brussels, 1979, illustrated p. 84
David Sylvester (ed.), Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1992, vol. I, no. 196, illustrated p. 256
In 1920 Magritte was introduced to Edouard-Léon-Théodore Mesens by their mutual acquaintance Karel Maes at the first exhibition of the artist’s Cubo-Futurist work organised by the Centre d’Art in Brussels. Mesens was a man of numerous talents and occupations – a musician, poet, critic and gallerist – who was to become Magritte’s most vociferous supporter and promoter. In the mid-1920s Mesens and Magritte published the short-lived reviews Œsophage and Marie and contributed to the last edition of Francis Picabia’s Dadaist revue 391. Having partly abandoned his musical career Mesens set about selling and promoting avant-garde art, first at the Galerie Manteau, and later at Paul-Gustave van Hecke’s Galerie L’Epoque in Brussels. Mesens and Van Hecke became the principal dealers in Magritte’s work, and as such they sold L’éloge de l’espace to the fated Galerie Le Centaure in 1929. Soon after the sale the Galerie Le Centaure was forced to close and the stock liquidated and Mesens was able to buy a number of paintings, including the present work. In 1938 Mesens left Belgium and opened The London Gallery (backed by Roland Penrose), with a debut solo exhibition of Magritte’s greatest and latest works. Although the gallery closed in 1950, Mesens continued to champion his friend’s work and retained a large collection of his most important paintings for his own pleasure. L’éloge de l’espace has remained with his family until the present day.
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