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About This Artwork
Time Transfixed, 1938
Oil on canvas© 2013 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
57 7/8 x 38 7/8 in. (147 x 98.7 cm)
Signed, l.r.: "Magritte"
Joseph Winterbotham Collection, 1970.426
Surrealism was identified by its proponents as a way of reuniting the conscious and unconscious realms of experience so that the world of dream and fantasy could be joined to the everyday rational world—or what one critic called “an absolute reality, a surreality.” René Magritte accomplished this by merging dreamlike imagery and naturalistic detail, as in his iconic canvas Time Transfixed. He also worked carefully on his titles, and he was ultimately unhappy with the English translation of the title of this painting: the original French, La Durée poignardée, literally means “ongoing time stabbed by a dagger.” Magritte hoped that when Edward James purchased this painting, his patron would install it at the bottom of his staircase so that the train would “stab” guests on their way to James’s ballroom. In an ironic twist, James installed it over his fireplace, to Magritte’s great dissatisfaction.
— Permanent collection label
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Réne Magritte, December 15, 1965–February 27, 1966, no. 38, p. 37 (ill.); traveled to Waltham, Massachusetts, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, April 3–May 1, 1966; Chicago, Art Institute, May 30–July 3, 1966; Pasadena, Art Museum, August 1–September 4, 1966; Berkley, University Art Museum, October 1–November 1, 1966.
London, Tate Gallery, René Magritte, February 14–April 2, 1969, no. 62, p. 81 (ill.).
London, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Rene Magritte, May 19–August 2, 1992; traveled to New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 9–November 22, 1992; Houston, Menil Collection, December 15, 1992–February 21, 1993; and Chicago, Art Institute, March 16–May 30, 1993.
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique, Réne Magritte, March 6–June 28, 1998.
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, La Revolution Surrealiste, February 27–June 24, 2003; traveled to Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen, July 20–November 24, 2002.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, René Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images, December 10, 2006–March 4, 2007, pg. 146 (ill.).
Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Art in the Age of Steam: Europe, America and the Railway, 1830–1960, September 13, 2008–January 18, 2009.
Liverpool, Tate Liverpool, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, June 24, 2011-Febuary 26, 2012.
James Thrall Soby, René Magritte (New York, 1965), p. 37 (ill.).
Patrick Waldberg, René Magritte, translated by Austryn Wainhouse (Brussels, 1965), p. 37 (ill.).
The Collections of the Tate Gallery (London, 1967), p. 162.
David Sylvester, Magritte (New York and Washington, 1969), pp. 2, 81 (ill.).
Simon Watson Taylor, “René Magritte and André Breton,” Studio International, CLXXVII (February 1969) p. 69 (ill.).
Burlington Magazine, CXII (September 1970), p. lxxviii (ill.).
Arts Magazine, CXII (September 1970), ill.
“So Real Surrealism,” The Detroit News (January 12, 1971), ill.
Anne D’Harnoncourt, “Acquisitions of Modern Art by Museums,” Burlington Magazine, CXIV (February 1972), p. 123 (ill.).
José Vovelle, Le Surrealisme en Belgique (Brussels, 1972), p. 116 (ill.).
A. M. Hammacher, René Magritte, translated by James Brockway (New York, 1973), p. 114 (ill.).
David Sylvester and Sarah Whitfield, René Magritte: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 2 (Houston: The Menil Foundation, 1993).
Magritte A bis Z, ed. Christoph Grunrmberg and Darren Pih, Exh. cat. (Alberina Publishing, 2012), p. 8, ill. 232, ill. 233, ill. 235, p. 259.
Magritte A to Z, ed. Christoph Grunenberg and Darren Pih, Exh. cat. (Tate Publishing, 2012), ill. 58, p. 59, 195, 204.
Edward James, London, until 1970. Purchased by Art Institute, October 1970.
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