Signed Magritte (lower right)
Willy van Hove, Belgium
Acquired from the above through Galerie Isy Brachot on December 18, 1967 and thence by descent
Brussels, Galerie Isy Brachot, Magritte: Cent cinquante oeuvres; Première vue mondiale de ses sculptures, 1968, no. 144
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art & Kyoto, Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, Rétrospective René Magritte, 1971, no. 85, illustrated in the catalogue.
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, René Magritte, 1987, no. 69, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, René Magritte, 1987-88, no. 78, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Jacques Meuris, Magritte, Paris, 1988, illustrated p. 114
David Sylvester, Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue raisonné, vol. IV, London, 1994, no. 1296, illustrated p. 122
La Voix du sang typifies the elaborate treachery of Magritte's images, conveying at once the familiar and the novel. Magritte first executed this motif in 1935 though he adjusted it in 1947 in an oil painting which closely resembles this gouache of the following year. As David Sylvester describes, "the scene is now nocturnal, the tree in full leaf, and there are now three cupboards, as against four, in the trunk; the top one, as before, is ajar, the others contain a sphere and a house" (David Sylvester, et. al., op. cit., vol. II, p. 384). Sylvester also identifies a potential source image for Magritte's motif here in the illustration of the cork harvest that can be found in the Larousse encyclopedia, which Magritte was known to consult (fig. 1). Magritte employs this otherwise descriptive imagery towards an altogether different purpose, infusing the scene with an enigmatic mood. The inviting warmth of the lit house stands out from the cooler, dusk colors of the night scene.
Magritte described the connection between this motif and the title which he gave it, "The words dictated to us by the blood sometimes appear foreign to us. Here it seems to want to command us to open up magic riches in the trees" (quoted in René Magritte, The Key to Dreams (exhibition catalogue), Vienna, Kunstforum & Basel, Fondation Beyeler, 2005, p. 124).
According to David Sylvester's catalogue raisonné, this work was signed, dated 1948 and titled on the reverse by Magritte in either 1966 or 1967 though this is now obscured by museum exhibition labels.
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