Lot 1
  • 1

René Magritte

200,000 - 300,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • René Magritte
  • L'Echelle du feu, 1934
  • gouache on paper
  • Signed Magritte lower left; titled L'ECHELLE DU FEU on the reverse
  • 18 x 22,5 cm; 7 1/8  x 8 7/8  in.


Paul Eluard, Paris
Henri Matarasso, Paris (1937 or 1938, acquired from the above)
Jacques and Madeleine Matarasso, Paris (by descent from the above)
Maître Briest, Paris, Collection Jacques et Madeleine Matarasso, October 27, 2000, lot 5
Collection Jacques Grange, Paris


New York, Museum of Modern Art, Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, December 1936-January 1937, no. 411
London, Hayward Gallery (and traveling), Magritte, May 21, 1992-August 2, 1993, no. 136, illustrated in the catalogue n. p.


Letter by Magritte to Breton, July 1934
"Intervention Surréaliste", in Documents 34, Brussels, June 1934, illustrated p. 1
René Magritte,  'La Ligne de vie' (lecture at the Koninklijk Museum van Schoone Kunsten, Antwerp, 1938) in Louis Scutenaire, Avec Magritte, Brussels, 1977, p. 90, for a similar example
David Sylvester, Magritte, London, 1992, illustrated p. 275
David Sylvester, Sarah Whitfield, Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue raisonné, Gouaches, Temperas, Watercolours and Papiers Collés 1918-1967, London, 1994, vol. IV, no. 1108, illustrated p. 12

Catalogue Note

No greatness exists for him that would grow. There is no model for him that seeks what he has never seen. We all belong to the same rank. Let us do away with the others.
Employing contradictions purely as a means to equality, and unwilling to please and be self-satisfied, poetry has always applied itself, in spite of all sorts of persecutions, to refusing to serve other than its own ends, an undesirable fame and the various advantages bestowed upon conformity and prudence.
And what of pure poetry? Poetry's absolute power will purify men, all men. 'Poetry must be made by all. Not by one.' So said Lautreamont. All the ivory towers will be demolished, all speech will be holy, and, having at last come into the reality which is his, man will need only to shut his eyes to see the gates of wonder opening.

Paul Eluard, L'Evidence poétique, conference delivered in London in 1936.