Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening

New York

René Magritte
1898 - 1967
Signed Magritte (upper right); titled, signed and dated "La Perspective Amoureuse"  RENÉ MAGRITTE 1935 on the reverse; inscribed Le démon de la perversité on the stretcher 
Oil on canvas
45 5/8 by 31 7/8 in.
116 by 81 cm
Painted in 1935.
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Robert Giron Brussels (acquired from the artist and sold: Christie’s, London, June 29, 1981, lot 52a)

Marisa del Re Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above in January 1983


Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, René Magritte: peintures, objets surréalistes, 1936, no. 19

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Les Compagnons de l'art, 1938, no. 273

Venice, XXIV Biennale di Venezia, 1948, no. 43

Hague Gemeentemuseum, Facetten van hedendaagse schilderkunst: België, Luxembourg, Nederland, 1949, no. 58

São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, Bienal, 1951, no. 9

Knokke, Casino Communal, Ve festival belge d'été: Expositions René Magritte - Paul Delvaux, 1952, no. 19

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, René Magritte, 1954, no. 48

Venice, XXVII Biennale di Venezia, 1954, no. 44

Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, L'Apport wallon au surréalisme, 1955, no. 54

Charleroi, Salle de la Bourse, XXXe salon [du] Cercle Royal Artistique et Littéraire de Charleroi, including a 'Rétrospective René Magritte,' 1956, no. 60

Brussels, Musée d'Ixelles, Magritte, 1959, no. 36

Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Magritte, 1960, no. 21

London, Obelisk Gallery, Magritte: Paintings, Drawings, Gouaches, 1961, no. 21

Vienna, Künstlerhaus, Surrealismus, phantastische Malerei der Gegenwart, 1962, no. 107

Knokke, Casino Communal, XVe festival belge d'été: L'Oeuvre de René Magritte, 1962, no. 48

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, René Magritte, 1965, no. 27

Waltham, Ma., Brandeis University; Chicago, The Art Institute; Pasadena, Art Museum; Berkeley, University Art Museum, René Magritte, 1966, no. 27;

Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum, René Magritte, 6 surrealister, 1967, no. 40

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Six peintures surréalistes, 1967, no. 55

Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, René Magritte: het mysterie van de werkelijkheid/le mystère de la réalité, 1967, no. 39

Stockholm, Moderna Museet, René Magritte, 1967, no. 32

Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, René Magritte, 1987, no. 38

Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, René Magritte, 1987, no. 40

Vienna, BA-CA Kunstforum; Foundation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, René Magritte, The Key to Dreams, 2005, no. 46




Paul Nougé, René Magritte ou la révélation objective, Brussels, 1936, illustrated p. 19

Paul Colinet, Pour illustrer Magritte, Brussels, 1936, no. 56

Les Beaux-Arts, Brussels, May 1, 1936, illustrated p. 19

"Album Surréaliste," Mizue, Tokyo, 1937, illustrated pl. 80

Samleren, Copenhagen, March-April 1938, illustrated p. 69

René Magritte, Destination, discussed in letters to Mariën dated May 31 and June 2, 1943, nos. 46, 47 & 48

Marcel Mariën, Magritte, Brussels, 1943, illustrated pl. 10

Postcard published by Maison Berger, 1943

De Roode vaan, Brussels, December 27, 1945, illustrated p. 4

René Magritte, Ecrits, Brussels, 1946, pp.261-62 

E. L. T. Mesens, "René Magritte," Peintres belges contemporains, Brussels, 1947, illustrated p. 163

Les Arts en Wallonie 1918-1946, Charleroi, 1947, illustrated pl. 22

Les Arts plastiques, Brussels, May-June 1948, illustrated p. 199

Louis Scutenaire, Magritte, Antwerp, 1948 [published 1950], illustrated pl. 6 

Torczyner, 1977, discussed in a letter from Magritte to Barnet Hodes dated February 4, 1957, pp. 126-27

Max Kozloff, "Epiphanies of artifice," The Nation, New York, January 10, 1966, p. 55-56

Sarah Whitfield, Magritte (exhibition catalogue), The South Bank Center, London, 1992, fig. 61b, illustrated opposite pl. 61

David Sylvester, Sarah Whitfield and Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, London, 1993, no. 385, illustrated p. 209

Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque, Magritte In the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, 2005, illustrated p. 19

Catalogue Note

The image of a penetrated closed door encapsulates the contradictions and incongruities that define Surrealist art.  Magritte painted this picture in 1935, just when the international movement known as Surrealism was at its height.   Like his colleagues in France, Magritte was fascinated by enigmatic scenarios and philosophical conundrums, and explored these topics in his art. "Let us now turn to the panel of a door," he remarked in a public lecture in London in 1937, "this can open on to a landscape seen upside down or else the landscape can be painted on the door.  But let us try something less gratuitous:  let us make a hole in the wall beside the door panel, a hole that is also an exit, a door.  Let us further improve this juxtaposition by reducing the two objects to one:  the hole goes quite naturally into the door panel."

The present picture is essentially a cross between two of the artist's earlier creations, La géante (see fig. 2), which he had painted a few months before completing the present work, and La réponse imprévue (see fig. 3) from 1933.   La réponse imprévue depicts the same door and cut-out opening, which the artist claimed to be the image of a door in a bedroom, revealing the darkness of night through an irregularly-shaped hole.  Sarah Whitfield points out that when Magritte revised this image for the present painting, he radically altered the mood of the composition:  "When Magritte painted a variant of this image in 1935 [the present work], he made the view through the door a brightly-lit landscape instead of an impenetrable wall of darkness: an early example of the ease with which he could transform an image of extreme gravity into one of cheerful assurance" (Sarah Whitfield, Magritte (exhibition catalogue), The South Bank Center, London, 1992, n.p.).

Although Magritte completed the picture at the end of 1935, he chose to exhibit it for the first time in 1936 at an exhibition in Brussels. Since then, it has become one of the most frequently exhibited works in all of Magritte's oeuvre.  On the reverse of the canvas Magritte titled this painting "La Perspective amoureuse."  The inscription on the stretcher, "le démon de la perversité," has nothing to do with the present work, as Magritte had intended to use this same stretcher in 1927 for another painting, but instead used it for this painting in 1935.  Magritte explained his choice of title for La Perspective amoureuse in a letter to Mariën: "It is love which opens up the greatest vistas.  Here, the greatest feeling of depth has been suggested by removing part of the panelling of a door which concealed a landscape consisting of known objects (trees, sky) and of a mysterious object (the large metal bell lying on the terrace)" (quoted in David Sylvester, Sarah Whitfield and Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, London, 1993,  p. 209).

Fig. 1, René Magritte, circa 1950.  Photograph by Roland d'Ursel.

Fig. 2, René Magritte, La géante, 1935, oil on canvas, Private Collection

Fig. 3, René Magritte, La réponse imprévue, 1933, oil on canvas, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels



Impressionist & Modern Art Evening

New York