RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
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THE SURREALIST WORLD OF ROSALIND GERSTEN JACOBS AND MELVIN JACOBS
RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)

Le Manteau de Pascal

Details
RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
Le Manteau de Pascal
brush and India ink and inkwash with white heightening on paper
signed 'Magritte' (upper right)
9 3⁄4 x 7 1⁄8 in. (24.7 x 18 cm.)
Painted in 1954
Provenance
Bodley Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist).
Acquired from the above by the late owners, April 1958.
Literature
La Carte d'après nature, no. 8, January 1955 (illustrated).
D. Sylvester, ed., René Magritte: Catalogue Raisonné, Gouaches, Temperas, Watercolours and Papiers Collés, 1918-1967, New York, 1994, vol. IV, pp. 164-165, no. 1373 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Bodley Gallery, New York, René Magritte: Contemporary Belgian Surrealist, April 1958.
Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts and Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, René Magritte in America, December 1960-February 1961, no. 78.
New York, Albert Landry Galleries, René Magritte in New York Private Collections, October-November 1961, no. 32.
Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sweet Dreams and Nightmares: Dada and Surrealism from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection, March-May 2000, no. 10 (illustrated in color; dated 1957).
New York, Pace/MacGill Gallery, The Long Arm of Coincidence: Selections from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection, April-May 2009 (illustrated in color; dated 1957).
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Magritte: La trahison des images, September 2016-June 2017, p. 28 (illustrated in color; dated 1957).

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Lot Essay

In Le Manteau de Pascal, the composition concentrates on a tattered overcoat floating in an evening sky above the faint outline of rooftops. Here, Magritte evokes the mystery of representation, by showing this wholly incongruous scene—an unclaimed garment with a lack of relationship to the scenery behind it. Magritte creates his own realm free from the traditional associations between object and space.

According to the artist, the title of Le Manteau de Pascal was devised by friend and Surrealist poet Louis Scutenaire. The seventeenth-century French mathematician, scientist and philosopher, Blaise Pascal was a devoted theologian who notably experienced a mystical encounter with God and was later buried with his recording of the event sewn into the hem of his coat.

Magritte began a version of this subject in oil as early as summer 1954 and took several months to complete the painting. Iolas likely saw the work in Magritte’s studio in either mid-July or October of that year. The present Le Manteau de Pascal was executed around the same time and in a grisaille palette, a technique the artist would use when he intended to reproduce the image in black-and-white. Le Manteau de Pascal was indeed reproduced in La Carte d’après nature in January 1955 alongside La Lampe dAladin (Sylvester, no. 1374; Musée Maison René Magritte, Brussels) under the heading "L’Art poétique" with the following text by Magritte:
“The art of painting, as I understand it, allows the representation of visible poetic images. They show a wealth of definite entities that our eyes easily recognize: trees, skies, stones, objects, people, etc. They have a meaning for the intelligence when it rids itself of the obsessive urge which gives meaning to things only to use them and control them.

Attentive intelligence comes into focus when it sees the meaning inherent in poetic images. This meaning is in accordance with our moral certainty of belonging to the World. Thus de facto belonging becomes de jure belonging. The changing content of the poetic images corresponds to the richness of mental certainty. This content does not appear in response to an effort of will, it does not obey any system either logical or illogical, strict or whimsical.

The unpredictable emergence of a poetic image is celebrated by the intelligence at one with the marvelous and enigmatic light coming from the World” (quoted in D. Sylvester, op. cit., pp. 164-165).

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