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Event Item: 00141
René Magritte 1948: La Période Vache
Exhibition: 30th Oct 2008 to 4th Jan 2009
René Magritte numbers not only among the most important, but also among the most popular artists of the twentieth century. Often against the grain of the tendencies in the arts of his time, the Belgian Surrealist painter developed a unique and unmistakable pictorial language. His work's continuing crucial influence on later generations of artists and his impact on today's visual culture are almost without par. Many of his equally enigmatic and hard-to-forget solutions have been reproduced in the millions and become famous icons far beyond the world of art.
However, a fascinating period of the artist's landmark oeuvre has remained nearly unknown: his so-called période vache. In 1948, Magritte made a group of paintings and gouaches distinctly different from the rest of his work for his first solo exhibition in Paris. Relying on a new, fast and aggressive style of painting - and particularly inspired by popular sources such as caricatures and comics, but also interspersing his works with stylistic quotations from artists like James Ensor or Henri Matisse - Magritte, within only a few weeks, produced about thirty entirely uncharacteristic works that caused an outrage in Paris. The artist deliberately conceived the exhibition as a provocation of and an assault on the Parisian public. Painting in an unexpectedly crude, playful, and intentionally "bad" manner, he reflected his own work and painting in general.
Magritte thus anticipated strategies of painting current in the 1970s and 1980s, which are highly topical again today. While only sporadically included in most retrospectives of Magritte's oeuvre, the works from the période vache will be assembled in the exhibition at the Schirn outside France and Belgium for the first time. Especially against the background of the last thirty years' art, this concentrated presentation will shed a new, surprising light on an extraordinary artist.
With "René Magritte 1948. La Période Vache," the Schirn continues a series of exhibitions that started with "Henri Matisse. Drawing with Scissors" and "Paul Klee. 1933" and was followed by "Max Beckmann. The Watercolors and Pastels" or "Picasso and the Theater," focusing on specific groups of works or certain aspects in the oeuvre of established masters of classical modernism. A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published by Ludion.
SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT, Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt