René Magritte. The Palace of Curtains, III. Paris 1928-29

René Magritte

The Palace of Curtains, III

Paris 1928-29

Oil on canvas
32 x 45 7/8" (81.2 x 116.4 cm)
The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection
Object number
© 2018 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
René Magritte has 14 works  online.
There are 2,382 paintings online.

In this work Magritte presents the equivalent visual and verbal signs for the concept ciel (French for "sky") in two identically shaped panels: on the left in a trompe l’oeil depiction of an atmospheric patch of blue sky, captured and brought down to earth, and on the right with the word ciel in black script, austerely flat and precise. Set in a non–descript interior with a wood–paneled wall and floor, the angular framed panels of this word-image pair recall the backs of stretched canvases leaning against a wall, yet the deep shadows they cast suggest freestanding objects, propped up by some invisible mechanism. In combination, these puzzling components probe the complex relationship between words and images, as well as the tropes and conventions of painterly representation.

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

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Ruth Peters, Brussels. By 1933
E.L.T. (Edouard Léon Théodore) Mesens (1903-1971), Brussels and London (from 1938). - 1954
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York; and then private collection of Sidney and Harriet Janis. Acquired from E.L.T. Mesens, 1954 - 1967
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection, 1967

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