Exhibitions > Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938
Sunday, June 22, 2014–Sunday, October 12, 2014
Featuring over 80 paintings, collages, drawings, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, this is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the breakthrough years of René Magritte, creator of some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary images. Beginning in 1926 and ending in 1938, the exhibition traces significant strategies and themes used by the artist during the most profoundly inventive and experimental period in his long, productive career. Displacement, transformation, metamorphosis, and the “misnaming” of objects as well as the representation of visions seen in half-waking states are among Magritte’s key subjects and tactics during these seminal years.
The show begins in 1926 in Brussels, where Magritte created paintings and works on paper that first gained him recognition as a Surrealist and that aimed, in his words, to “challenge the real world.” It follows the artist to Paris in 1927, where he met Surrealists like André Breton, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró, and created his first word-image paintings. Returning to Brussels in 1930, Magritte continued his search for new forms of image making and in 1933 began a series of paintings that depicted disturbing and unexpected associations between objects. The exhibition concludes with a remarkable group of works Magritte made in London and in Brussels between 1937 and 1938, with a particular emphasis on the commissions he completed for the eccentric British collector Edward James. The exhibition’s chronological endpoint, 1938, marks both a historically and biographically significant moment: it was just before the outbreak of World War II and the year Magritte delivered an important retrospective account of what had made him a Surrealist painter.
Organizer Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston; and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sponsors Bank of America is the National Sponsor of Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938.
Funding for the Art Institute of Chicago’s presentation is generously provided by the Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Lead Affiliate Sponsor.
Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Goldman Sachs, Kenneth and Anne Griffin, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, the Trott Family Foundation, and the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Additional support provided by the Prince Charitable Trusts.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.