The Belgian painter, printmaker, sculptor, and filmmaker René Magritte (1898–1967) was one of the leading figures in the Surrealist movement, producing some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. His trademark flat, inexpressive manner, combining apparently mundane, everyday scenes with elements of the fantastic or erotic, created a disturbing, dreamlike atmosphere that is all his own. He remained faithful to Surrealism throughout his career and developed a vocabulary of symbols—floating rocks, bowler-hatted men carrying umbrellas, incongruous nudes, concealed or shrouded faces—that is among the most recognizable in modern painting. This book explores the full scope of Magritte’s work through the format of an A to Z, fully illustrated in color, with entries written by a range of international scholars. The entries under the letter A alone—Absence, Abstraction, Appropriation, Anonymity, Artifice, Automatism, and Automatic Writing—show how this approach reveals and explores the themes and motivations in this most enigmatic artist’s work.
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Christoph Grunenberg is director of Kunsthalle Bremen, in Germany.