387
387

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, EUROPE

René Magritte
LA MALÉDICTION
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 312,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
387

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, EUROPE

René Magritte
LA MALÉDICTION
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 312,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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René Magritte
1898 - 1967
LA MALÉDICTION
Bears the signature Magritte (lower right)
Oil on panel
5 1/8 by 5 1/8 in.
12 by 12 cm
Painted in 1936 or 1937.
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Provenance

Private Collection, Belgium
Leon Charles de Mol, Belgium
Acquired from the above in the 1980s

Exhibited

Knokke-Heist, Casino Knokke, Exposition Magritte, 2001, n.n.
Brussels, Musée Magritte Museum, Magritte retrouvé, 2012, n.n.

Literature

David Sylvester, René Magritte, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, London, 1993, no. 424, illustrated p. 233

Catalogue Note

La Malédiction is one of at least eight square-shaped paintings of clouds floating across the sky that Magritte completed around 1936 or 1937. These works vary slightly in size and, according to Magritte scholar David Sylvester, were very likely done around the same time. At least one was sold directly to a collector by the artist himself. The motif of fluffy white clouds drifting against blue sky is one that appears in Magritte’s work as early as 1929. Like many other motifs from Magritte’s pre-war oeuvre, the artist would go on to revisit the sky with endless variation in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and incorporated it into some of his best-known canvases (see fig. 1).

Magritte’s career witnessed a turning point around 1937, when he spent several weeks in London working on a major commission of three monumental canvases for the Wimple Street home of the foremost patron of Surrealist art of the day, Edward James. Magritte had met James the year before at the International Surrealist Exhibition at New Burlington Galleries in London and the two immediately struck up a friendship. As Stephanie D’Alessandro describes, the James commission represented “a major artistic opportunity...to garner attention on a grand scale for the skill and intellect with which Magritte approached his art” and “offered the promise of a much-needed new market for the artist” (Magritte, The Mystery of the Ordinary (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013, p. 195). Magritte reinterpreted three earlier paintings for the James commission, adapting Le Modèle rouge, La Jeunesse illustrée and Au Seuil de la liberté for installation in James’ spacious ballroom. The last of these three works depicts a World War I-style cannon pointed toward the back wall of a room subdivided into squares, each featuring one enigmatic motif that the artist had explored, including a panel of sky very similar to the present work (see fig. 2).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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