Lot 1
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René Magritte

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • René Magritte
  • L'autre son de cloche
  • signed
  • gouache on card
  • 5 by 7 in.
  • 13.2 by 18.2 cm.
  • Executed in 1952.


Galleria dell'Obelisco, Rome
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (acquired from the above circa 1990)


Rome, Galleria dell'Obelisco, Magritte, 1953, cat. no. 18


Letter from Magritte to del Corso, 6th November 1952
Letter from Magritte to del Corso, 11th December 1952
David Sylvester, ed., Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1994, vol IV, cat. no. 1344, p. 149, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The celestial image of Earth eclipsing a planetary-sized apple is the subject of Magritte's beautifully-rendered gouache from 1952.  The composition visualizes Magritte's belief in "elective affinities," or the fact that our basic understanding of the world is reliant upon seeing connections or "links in a chain" among all objects.  The title for this picture, a French idiom which can be likened in English to "Striking a different note," was provided by Magritte's Belgian Surrealist colleague Paul Nougé.  As is typical of many of the titles of Magritte's work, it bears no readily discernable relationship to the subject and thus enhances the Surrealist image of the composition as a whole.

L'autre son de cloche relates to an oil of the same title from 1951 (Sylvester no. 771).  Magritte also used the form of two overlapping orbs for La Valse hésitation, a recurrent image in his production of these years depicting two masked apples.  A version of La Valse hésitation and the present work were among the sixteen small gouaches that Magritte exhibited at Rome's Gallery dell'Obelisco in January 1953.  According to Magritte's letters to the gallery's owner Gasparo del Corso, all of these works were completed by November 26, 1952.  According to Mrs. Mellon's archivist, it is possible that this work was acquired after the death of Paul Mellon.