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Ren Magritte (1898-1967)
Magritte, R.
signed 'Magritte' (upper right) and titled 'L'Atlantide' (lower center)
gouache on paper
9 x 7 in. (24.8 x 19 cm.)
Painted in 1957 or 1958
Barnet and Eleanor Cramer Hodes, Chicago (acquired from the artist, 1958).
By descent from the above to the present owner.
Letter from Barnet Hodes to Magritte, 12 September 1957.
Letter from Magritte to Barnet Hodes, 21 September 1957.
D. Sylvester, S. Whitfield and M. Raeburn, Ren Magritte, Catalogue Raisonn, London, 1993-1994, vol. III, pp. 67-68; vol. IV, p. 203, no. 1440 (illustrated).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, The Vision of Ren Magritte, September-October 1962, no. 3 (illustrated; incorrectly dated 1927).

Lot Essay

The present gouache is a close variant of an oil painting of the same title from 1927 (Sylvester, no. 160; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusettes). This haunting image shows an inverted view of a church set into a steep, rocky cliff. In the foreground, a tiled bath and mysterious covered object are set before a black void -- a motif which Magritte used extensively during his Paris period.

Sylvester has related the imagery of L'Atlantide to Magritte's memory of his mother's suicide by drowning, which occurred when the artist was twelve years old. The image of a dome of draped cloth may refer to Magritte's recollection that his mother's corpse was recovered from the river with her nightdress covering her face (D. Sylvester, Magritte, The Silence of the World, New York, 1992, p. 12ff). This motif appears elsewhere in Magritte's work, including The Ordeal of Sleep, 1926-1927 (Sylvester, no. 128; coll. Museo Civico, Biella, Italy).

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