MoMA
René Magritte. The Menaced Assassin. Brussels, 1927
René Magritte

The Menaced Assassin

Brussels, 1927
On view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
59 1/4" x 6' 4 7/8" (150.4 x 195.2 cm)
Credit
Kay Sage Tanguy Fund
Object number
247.1966
Copyright
© 2015 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Painted for his first solo exhibition, in 1927, L’Assassin menacé is one of Magritte's largest and most theatrical compositions. Like many of the Surrealists, Magritte was an avid fan of the pre-World War I popular crime fiction series Fantômas; he borrowed the placement of the two detectives figures flanking the doorframe from the Le Mort Qui Tue (The Murderous Corpse), a film from the series first released in 1913. It was Magritte’s ambition to create a similarly immersive and fantastical world on the canvas, here made manifest in the unsolvable narrative of this enduringly mysterious painting.

Gallery label from Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 , September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014
Additional text

Painted for his first solo exhibition, in 1927, The Menaced Assassin is one of Magritte's largest and most theatrical compositions. Like many of the

Surrealists, Magritte was an avid fan of the pre-World War I popular crime fiction series Fantômas; he borrowed the placement of the two detectives'

figures flanking the doorframe from the Le Mort Qui Tue (The Murderous Corpse), a film from the series first released in 1913. It was Magritte's ambition to create a similarly immersive and fantastical world on the canvas, here made manifest in the unsolvable narrative of this enduringly mysterious painting.

Gallery label from 2015
Provenance information
Paul Gustave Van Hecke (1887 – 1967) of Galerie L’Epoque (1927 – 1929, then stock transferred to Galerie Le Centaure), Brussels. 1927 – 1929
Galerie Le Centaure (1921-1931), then Galerie Walter Schwarzenberg (1931-32), Brussels. 1929 – [likely until February 1932]
E.L.T. (Edouard Léon Théodore) Mesens (1903 – 1971), Brussels and London (from 1938). Acquired in the early 1930s [possibly in 1932] – until 1966. (On loan to Casino de Knokke, Belgium, from 1962 to 1965.)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from Mesens with the Kay Sage Tanguy Fund, 1966

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New York, N.Y. 10019

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource