René Magritte. The Lovers. Paris 1928

René Magritte The Lovers Paris 1928

Floor 5, Collection Galleries

In this unsettling image—the first in a series of four variations of Les Amants that Magritte painted in 1928—the artist invokes the cinematic cliché of a close–up kiss but subverts our voyeuristic pleasure by shrouding the faces in cloth. The device of a draped cloth or veil to conceal a figure’s identity corresponds to a larger Surrealist interest in masks, disguises, and what lies beyond or beneath visible surfaces. The melodramatic scene may also relate to the graphic illustrations that accompanied pulp fiction and thriller stories, which Magritte's friend Paul Nougé, in a letter from 1927, encouraged the artist to emulate.

Gallery label from Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 , September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
21 3/8 x 28 7/8" (54 x 73.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of Richard S. Zeisler
Object number
530.1998
Copyright
© 2018 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture