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200 × 130 × 14 mm
240 pages
60 illustrations
12 Aug 2019
Critical Lives

René Magritte Patricia Allmer

The Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte redefined the way we think about art. Famous for his men in bowler hats, Magritte’s witty and provocative work inspired generations of later artists, from Andy Warhol to Jasper Johns. In this illuminating new biography, Patricia Allmer radically repositions Magritte’s work in relation to its historical and cultural circumstances. Allmer explores the significant influence of events and experiences in Magritte’s early childhood and youth, recorded in his letters and essays: his memories of visiting fairs and circuses; of magical shows and performances; of the cinema; and in particular his first encounter with his future partner, Georgette, on a carousel.

Allmer’s analyses of these events and their influence on both well-known and less familiar images give new insights into Magritte’s art. The book will appeal to those who wish to know more about Magritte’s life and work, as well as the wide audience for Surrealism.

Patricia Allmer is a leading scholar of Surrealism and teaches Art History at the University of Edinburgh. Her books include René Magritte: Beyond Painting (2009) and Lee Miller: Photography, Surrealism, and Beyond (2016). Her curated exhibitions include Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism (2009) and Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs (2014).

Introduction: ‘Meet me at the carousel!’

1 Independent Beginnings: Shaping Belgian Surrealism
2 From Commerce to Art
3 Going to the Pictures
4 From Camera Obscura to Panoramic Vision
5 Subversive Allegiances
6 Now You See Him, Now You Don’t . . .
7 Disappearing Acts

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