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Rene Magritte Biography

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Rene Magritte was a master of surrealism. He was born November 21, 1898 in Lessines, Belgium. He lived 69 years, dying in 1967 after a life of travel and notoriety. His childhood is mostly a mystery due to his lack of exposure on the subject. It is known that his father, Leopold was a tailor and textile merchant who encouraged him to pursue art. This is likely one of the reasons Magritte's art touched on the textile industry as well as other economic and social issues. He was the oldest of three boys. His mother, who suffered from depression took her own life by throwing herself over a bridge and drowning in the river Sambre. When the body was found washed ashore with the nightgown covering the face, 14-year old Magritte was scarred. He would incorporate this traumatic image in his future artworks.

At age 16, Magritte met Georgette Berger, the girl he would marry later in life. This relationship was postponed however when he left for the AcademiƩ Royale des Beaux Arts in Brussels. Here he planned to learn the main techniques of art used by conventional artists of the time but soon learned that his affinity lie in surrealism and was influenced mainly by the styles futurism and cubism. During his time at the Academy Magritte met many famous artists, who would impact his style such as E.L.T Mesens, Pierre Flouquet, and Pierre Bourgeois. Rene later found his foremost inspiration from Giorgio De Chirico and his surrealist works.

Magritte joint the infantry in 1921, serving in Leopoldsburg, Austria, and Antwerp. After being discharged, he married his childhood sweetheart, Georgette Berger. At this point, Magritte's adult life began. He sold his first work of art leading to a contract with Galerie la Centaure. This marks the beginning of the artists' professional career. Magritte focused on portraying his own ideals and abstract style in his artwork rather than traditional methods. Magritte played on our perception of how we see reality. He was a master of conjuring mystery and question in what a person is looking at.

Rene's first art exhibit was a huge letdown, drawing major negativity from critics. To get by Magritte had to do odd jobs. When his contracting gallery closed, he went to work at a wallpaper factory, creating advertisements. When WWII came along, Rene lent his skills to forgery. He made his living counterfeiting famous works from Picasso, Braque, and Chirico, and selling them to the Germans. This is something he regretted later.

After the war Magritte returned to his art and turned out renowned works of surrealism including The Promenades of Euclid, and The Son of Man. Magritte's work is especially interesting because of his attitude towards it and how to interpret it. He believed that it is a visual stimulus and can only be evaluated in the visual. To try to gauge it with words is pointless. It was Magritte's belief that people try to tie words

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