Skip to Content

The museum is closed today. View our hours.

The White Race

A work made of oil on canvas.
© 2018 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1937

Artist:

René Magritte
Belgian, 1898–1967

About this artwork

In 1937 René Magritte completed a series of four paintings, titled The White Race, in which he depicted composite faces assembled entirely from disjointed body parts, “put together in a very unusual order.” A fervent critic of fascism, Magritte aimed these discomforting portrayals of human anatomy at the cult of bodily perfection then prominent in Nazi-sanctioned art and propaganda. The last of the series, this version is the only painting to position the startling face atop a body, unsettling the well-known art historical type of the bathing female nude. When it was exhibited in 1938, amid the widespread condemnation of “degenerate art” in Germany, the painting’s owner expressed support of Magritte, writing that “the distorted forms … challenge us and demand our attention through their disintegration.”

Currently Off View

Modern Art

Artist

René Magritte

Title

The White Race

Origin

Belgium

Date

1937

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Signed, u.r.; Magritte

Dimensions

81 × 60 cm (31 7/8 × 23 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of The Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Foundation

Reference Number

2016.84

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.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share