After his mother’s suicide in 1912, Rene Magritte moved with his family to Charleroi, where he took drawing and painting lessons. In October 1916, he enrolled in the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied with Emile Vandamme-Sylva, Gisbert Combaz and Constantine Montald; he also took up literature courses with Georges Eekhoud. In 1919, he came into contact with the members of the Belgian avant-garde and developed relations with young writers of Dada and Surrealist affinities, such as the poet and art dealer E.L.T. Mesens, with whom he began his publishing activity in 1925, with the magazines “Oesophage” and “Marie”. He also published the magazines “Carte d’apres nature” (1952-1957) and “Rhetorique” (1961-1964). The negative reception of his work in his first solo exhibition (1927) was one of the reasons why he moved to Paris, where he lived until 1930. During his three-year stay, he became an active member of the Surrealist movement and associated with Andre Breton and his circle. In 1945, he became connected with the Communist Party but soon disassociated himself. In 1956, he received the Guggenheim Award.
In 1927, his first solo exhibition was held at Le Centaure Gallery, Paris. Solo exhibitions of his work followed in various cities, and retrospective exhibitions were mounted in 1960-1969 in the United States, Germany, Holland and Sweden as well as in Dusseldorf and Brussels in 1996 and 1998. He also participated in a great number of group events as well as in all major Surrealist exhibitions, such as the International Surrealist Exhibition in London (1936).
In 1925, inspired by Giorgio de Chirico’s “Song Of Love”, Rene Magritte turned to Surrealism and became one of its greatest exponents. A short period of work inspired by Cubism and Futurism had come before that, and in the 1940’s he shortly experimented with impressionist painting. His oeuvre is distinguished for its poetic character and an atmosphere of mystery, achieved by using techniques such as distorting scale and blending realistically rendered images with apparently unrelated images, introduced in unlikely contexts. Moreover, a dream-like quality and the reversal of established relations inspire disquiet and incertitude in viewers.