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On the Threshold of Liberty

A room with canon at left pointed toward a wall divided into four segments: wood grain at top left; at top right, gray tubes with halved spheres; at bottom left, blue sky and clouds; and at bottom right, a brown building with curtained windows. A left wall, segmented in two, features a nude female torso at top and detailed trees at bottom. The right wall features a top panel of wavy yellow and orange, while bottom panel has a pink, cutout-like motif.
© 2018 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A room with canon at left pointed toward a wall divided into four segments: wood grain at top left; at top right, gray tubes with halved spheres; at bottom left, blue sky and clouds; and at bottom right, a brown building with curtained windows. A left wall, segmented in two, features a nude female torso at top and detailed trees at bottom. The right wall features a top panel of wavy yellow and orange, while bottom panel has a pink, cutout-like motif.

Date:

February–March 1937

Artist:

René Magritte
Belgian, 1898–1967

About this artwork

One of Surrealism’s most important patrons, Edward James was a willing collaborator whose sense of play initiated commissions for his homes from such artists as René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, including the latter’s iconic lobster telephone and Mae West lips sofa. James was impressed with Magritte’s work in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London and invited the artist to paint three canvases for his London home. Magritte made On the Threshold of Liberty during his stay there in 1937, reworking the motif of a cannon aimed at a female torso from an earlier horizontal painting of the same title (now in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam) into a vertical format in order to meet the specifications of the work’s destined site in James’s ballroom.

Status

On View, Gallery 396

Department

Modern Art

Artist

René Magritte

Title

On the Threshold of Liberty

Origin

Belgium

Date

1937

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

none

Dimensions

94 × 73 in. (238.8 × 185.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mary and Leigh Block

Reference Number

1988.141.10

Copyright

© 2018 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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