René Magritte

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René Magritte (1898-1967) was born in Lessines near Tournai in Frenchspeaking Belgium in 1898. He spent his childhood in Châtelet and Charleroi. He attended the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1916 to 1918. There he met the brothers Victor and Pierre Bourgeois and the painter Pierre-Louis Flouquet. In 1919 Magritte contributed to the first issue of the review Au Volant published by the Bourgeaois brothers. After a year of military service he worked as a designer, first of all for a wallpaper manufacturer in Brussels and then as a freelance designer of posters, publicity materials and exhibition stands. He painted his first acclaimed Surrealist painting, The Lost Jockey, in 1926 and in the same year, along with the other Belgian surrealists, signed the declamatory leaf-lets Two Disgraces and The Married Couple of the Eiffel Tower. Between 1927 and 1930 Magritte lived in Le Perreux-sur-Marne near Paris, during which time he became acquainted with Hans Arp, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Paul Eluard and Joan Miró. Magritte’s provocative essay ‘Words and Pictures’ was published in the last issue of La Révolution Surréaliste in 1929, a year after he painted The Empty Mask.