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Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938

This exhibition, co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art, The Menil Collection, Houston, and The Art Institute of Chicago, is the first to focus exclusively on the breakthrough Surrealist years of René Magritte, creator of some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary images. Beginning in 1926, when Magritte first aimed to create paintings that would, in his words, “challenge the real world,” and concluding in 1938—a historically and biographically significant moment just prior to the outbreak of World War II—the exhibition traces central strategies and themes from the most inventive and experimental period in the artist’s prolific career. Displacement, transformation, metamorphosis, the “misnaming” of objects, and the representation of visions seen in half-waking states are among Magritte’s innovative image-making tactics during these essential years.

Bringing together some 80 paintings, collages, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, the exhibition offers fresh insight into Magritte’s identity as a modern painter and Surrealist artist. A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.




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