- René Magritte
- Portrait (Autoportrait) (recto)Femme au piano (Georgette au piano) (verso)
- signed René Magritte and dated 1923 (lower right of recto)
- oil on panel
- 43.1 x 35.5 cm ; 17 x 14 in.
Sale : Christie's, London, 30 June 1980, lot 73
Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels & Paris
Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above and sold : Christie's, London, 1 July 1999, lot 628)
Acquired at the above sale
Silvano Levy, 'René Magritte and Window Display', Artscribe, no. 28, London, 31 March 1981, illustrated p. 24
David Sylvester (ed.), René Magritte, Catalogue raisonné, vol. I : Oil Paintings 1916-1930, New York, 1992, no. 26, illustrated p. 137 (verso) & no. 46, illustrated p. 148 (recto)
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
It is thanks to a photograph of this work taken by Magritte’s childhood friend Emile Chapeveyer, which bears the inscription Portrait René Magritte 1923, that we are able to determine with certainly that the figure represented on the recto is the artist himself. Moreover, David Sylvester and Sarah Whitfield, the authors of the catalogue raisonné, have shown that the painter was certainly inspired by his own photographic portrait.
This portrait and the young girl at the piano are both marked by the influence of Cubism and of Futurism, two movements that Magritte had discovered with amazement at the studio of Pierre-Louis Flouquet where he worked from 1919 to 1920. However the self-portrait also reveals a certain mysterious, disquieting quality, transcending formal experimentation and foreshadowing Magritte’s fascination with the bizarre that would permeate the rest of his oeuvre.