09 Aug 2018

René Magritte: The Fifth Season

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Reviewed by John Rapko

This show displays the later results of René Magritte’s attempt to realize a visual conception of what he called "poetry." In 1942 he abandoned the conception of a picture as the solution to the problem of uniting an image with its latent associations. Instead he took up a "Sunshine Surrealism" aping the later manner of Renoir, whose flesh-evoking touches are wrenched into the flattened haloing of Image of a Green House (1944) and the smearing surface patterning of the houses therein.

Briefly in 1948 Dadaism returned in the Vache paintings, seemingly parodies of Fauvism whose target is as much Magritte's own archaic belief in the magic of painting. The illuminating sun of Seasickness resembles the tossed wattle of a turkey.

Then the more familiar style of displaced illustrations and gigantism returned. Personal Values (1952) suggests that the poetry that Magritte sought but rarely realized and never articulated was of textured surfaces that hid the fact that they hid nothing.

Exhibition René Magritte: The Fifth Season link
Start date 19 May 2018
End date 28 Oct 2018 (in 35 days)
Presenter San Francisco Museum of Modern Art link
Venue 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA, USA map
Image René Magritte, Personal Values, 1952, oil on canvas, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis, © Charly Herscovici, Brussels/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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