Magritte was the most prominent Belgian associated with the modern art movement known as Surrealism. While his concept of the art of painting increasingly diverged from Surrealist theory, the integrity and fascination of his large body of work won for him an extended and devoted audience in the latter part of his career.
When Magritte launched, in 1929, his image consisting of a pipe and the inscription “This is not a pipe,” he began, in the words of Breton, “the systematic trial of the visual image, emphasizing its shortcomings and indicating the dependent nature of the figures of language and thought.” With this and a succession of related images, Magritte brought painting into a close relation to linguistic philosophy and contributed directly to subsequent phases of modern art such as Pop Art and Conceptual Art. The wide popularity of Magritte’s art in the years immediately following his death may not often reflect an appreciation of the complexities of his art, but his own words express conviction that his work would, in the end, have its due effect: “Women, children, men who never think about art history,” he said, “have personal preferences just as much as aesthetes do.” --
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