Work in the spotlight

René Magritte: "Personal values" (1952). Oil on canvas, 77,5 x 100 cm.

René Magritte
Lessines (Belgium) 1898 - Brussels (Belgium) 1967

Personal values (1952)
Oil on canvas, 77,5 x 100 cm
© Collection Museum of Modern Art San Francisco SFMOMA, CR0773.

René Magritte Personal Values (1952)

Oil on canvas

The Musée Magritte Museum is pleased to host an emblematic work by René Magritte, until September 2015: Personal Values (1952). The painting has been lent by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and shows the excellence of international relations and collaborations of the MMM with other prestigious museums.  

Presented to the public from 10. September onwards, Personal Values blends into various projects and is subjected to a technological analysis in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Art Heritage (IRPA).

According to a thematic targeting the hypertrophy of objects and its context related to the United States, Personal Values is currently questioning Art History.

The alteration of scale by enlarging daily objects (a glass, a comb, a match,…) is often used by the artist. This method based on the “disturbing objects” theory, extoled by surrealist Paul Nougé, is one of the ways to unhinge the spectator, causing a poetic shock and uneasiness in front of intentional surreality.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are retaining several works in this hypertrophic style, for example: Forbidden Reading (1936), The Fire (1943),  Heartstrings (1960),...  In addition to the hypertrophy of the objects, it is obvious that the presence of Personal values reveals the connections linking Magritte to the United States. The work is clearly showing the bond between Magritte and his American representative, Alexander Iolas. In 1948, Magritte starts a commitment with Iolas which ensures him a lasting visibility in New York, launching a first exhibition followed by a series of successful shows. In 1952, he proposes Personal values to Iolas, in a letter dated 25. April. Further letters deal with recurrent questions about the analysis of the painting or the selective taste of the Americans, liking or disliking certain works.

Several works by Magritte are absent at this moment as they are lent until October 2014 to the United States on the occasion of the traveling exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 (MoMA of New York, Menil Foundation of Houston and  Art Institute of  Chicago), therefore, the Musée Magritte Museum is especially pleased to present a major work, in addition of an important selection of surrealist masterpieces from its collection.