René Magritte (1898-1967)
René Magritte (1898-1967)
René Magritte (1898-1967)
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René Magritte (1898-1967)
6 More
René Magritte (1898-1967)

Lettres persanes (Un peu de l'âme des bandits)

René Magritte (1898-1967)
Lettres persanes (Un peu de l'âme des bandits)
I) signed 'Mag' (center right) and numbered 'I' (upper center)
II) signed 'Magritte' (lower center; recto) and numbered 'II' (upper center; recto); signed again, dated, inscribed and dedicated 'René Magritte 1960 'Lettres persanes' l'idée et sa genèse, à Harry Torczyner' (verso)
III) signed 'Mag' (lower right) and numbered 'III' (upper center)
IV) signed 'Mag' (lower right; recto) and numbered 'IV' (upper right)
V) signed 'Mag' (lower right) and numbered 'V' (upper right)
VI) signed 'Mag' (lower center) and numbered 'VI' (upper right)
VII) signed with initials 'RM' (upper left; recto) and numbered 'VII' (upper right; recto); numbered 'VIIa' (verso)
black ball-point pen on paper
Each: 8 1/8 x 5 3/8 in. (20.6 x 13.6 cm.)
Drawn in 1960
Harry Torczyner, New York (acquired from the artist); Estate sale, Christie's, New York, 19 November 1998, lot 532.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J.T. Soby, René Magritte, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1965, p. 19 (illustrated, pp. 64-65).
J.J. Spector, Aesthetics of Freud: A Study in Psychoanalysis and Art, New York, 1972, p. 175 (illustrated, figs. 33-34).
H. Torczyner, Magritte: Ideas and Images, New York, 1977, pp. 146-147, nos. 277-284 (illustrated).
S. Gablik, Magritte, New York, 1985, pp. 106-107 and 203, nos. 98-106 (illustrated, pp. 104-105).
H. Torczyner, L'Ami Magritte: Correspondance et souvenirs, Antwerp, 1992, pp. 155-156 (illustrated).
R. Magritte, Magritte/Torczyner: Letters Between Friends, New York, 1994, pp. 113-120 (illustrated).
Sale room notice
The Comité Magritte has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

The Comité Magritte has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Lettres persanes are preliminary drawings for the oil painted the same year, Un peu de l'âme des bandits. Magritte told André Bosmans in a letter of July 1960 that they are "the result of inspiration which occurred at the end of the research posed by the problem of the violin: As always, from the beginning of the research, the solution was contained in the first drawing (which included a 'knot'), I had to discover what it indicated: the white knot of a formal collar. This first image is 'good' and would be worth painting...even though it is not an answer to a problem" (quoted in D. Sylvester, S. Whitfield and M. Raeburn, René Magritte: Catalogue Raisonné, Oil Paintings, Objects and Bronzes, 1949-1967, London, 1993, vol. III, p. 322).
In these drawings, Magritte experiments with the resonances of different images in relation to the violin—as the body of a butterfly, the spine of a leaf, and the body of his character "The Healer," among others. Sylvester notes that the numbering of the sketches may have been an afterthought by the artist, in order to show the progression of the images which led to the discovery. According to Magritte, the title Un peu de l'âme des bandits was suggested by his friend Louis Scutenaire. It was originally the title of a book written in 1913 by Emile Michon about a gang of thieves known as the "Bande à Bonnot."

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