Starting from this late Spring in Brussels Les Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, in cooperation with the Fondation Magritte and the financial institution Groupe Suez will be housing the world’s largest museum dedicated to René Magritte, the Belgian artist so dear to the European capital. In fact Magritte was born on November 21, 1898 in Lessines, but in 1914 moved to the capital to study at the Académie des Beaux-Arts and moreover in Brussels he established the Belgian surrealist group which comprised E.L.T. Mesens, Louis Scutenaire, Marcel Lecomte, Paul Nougé, André Souris and Camille Goemans. He will leave Brussels for France in order to escape from the German occupation during WWII.
The newly established Magritte Museum will be open just on the Place Royale hosting a major collection of over two hundred creations by René Magritte. They will include, but will not be limited to, the collection belonging to the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts as they will comprise many purchased pieces – as well as result of the legacies – of Irène Hamoir-Scutenaire and Georgette Magritte. Additionally several private collectors, together with public and private institutions, have contributed to the Musée Magritte project by lending their own artworks.
Magritte’s oeuvre will be permanently displayed to the public in an prodigious site within a building of the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique: all visitors will walk through its 2.500 sqm. of the Musée within the the very heart of Brussels.
Unquestionably this collection is the by far the largest Magritte’s in the world: oils on canvas, gouaches, drawings, sculptures and painted objects: and also in advertising posters, music scores, vintage photographs and films produced by Magritte himself.
Visitors will surely be amazed by Mona Lisa (dated 1962), definitely one of the most significant pieces of René Magritte’s. The name was assigned by Suzi Gablik, an art historian and close friends with René’s family. Favoured by the connections with the right partners the Museum curators succeeded in convincing a private collector in lending his version for one year. In truth Magritte was wonted to made more copies of his own pieces. He painted diverse versions of Mona Lisa, differently named: The Image in itself (1961), Waste of effort (1962), High society (1962) or The Ovation (1962). And thus more versions of Mona Lisa will be displayed: a gouache (1962) belonging to the French Community of Belgium and even the sculpture-version (1967 – just after René Magritte’s death on August 15th.).
The Museum offers a thematic as well as a time-line overview throughout Magritte’s life and work. The trail is subdivided in three sections which correspond to the three large stories of the building and it moves along in a top-down fashion. The third floor hosts Magritte’s constructivist period, his influences of the 7 Arts’ group – and De Chirico – and the early surrealist works. The second story shows the artist’s idiotic works: Magritte during the ’30s worked in the advertising field. More artworks of this period are strongly influenced by political and warfare circumstances. The first floor has been named “The enchanted Domain” exhibiting his experiments into reproductions and repetitions of images such as The Dominion of Light and The Domain of Arnheim.
Definitely the Musée Magritte is meant to play a pivotal cultural role on surrealism – and modern art in general – its recent opening is to be considered as one of the most important cultural events in European artistic panorama.