Lot 17
  • 17

René Magritte

200,000 - 300,000 EUR
435,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • 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 : Galerie de Paris, Brussels, 24 May 1975
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


Antwerp, Feestzaal van het Atheneum, 2de Kongres voor Moderne Kunst te Antwerpen, 1922, no. 26 (verso exhibited)


Harry Torczyner & Bella Bessard, René Magritte : Signes et Images, Paris, 1977, illustrated p. 196
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)

Catalogue Note

Like many young painters, at the beginning of his career, René Magritte often painted on both sides of his canvases or panels. This is the case with this fascinating double-sided work, featuring a self-portrait on the recto and a young woman at the piano on the verso.

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.