The present lot has been bought from the artist by the Belgian collector René Gaffé (1887-1968) just after it was made in 1931. Gaffé was one of the foremost Belgian collectors of modern art among his generation and one of Magritte's earliest patrons. In 1927 he was able to acquire three paintings, and he purchased the present triptych just after Magritte's return from France. In 1942 Magritte painted Gaffé's portrait 'Portrait de René Gaffé', which was sold at Christie's King street in London on 3 February 2010 (lot 458, for GBP 230.000).
The 1920s and early 1930s were not easy for Magritte as recognition was not yet there and it was difficult for him to earn a living. He painted his first surreal work in 1926, but the critics heaped abuse on the exhibition. After a stay in Paris were he came under the influence of the Surrealist group he moved back to Brussels in 1930. To support himself he resumed working in advertising, although he adopted a particularly radical view against commercial art. He called these commercial works 'Travaux imbéciles' for which he often used a pseudonym, 'EMAIR' (his initials phonetically) like he has done in the present lot. In the present lot the symbolist influences are already visible with the white elongated shapes that make us think irresistibly of clouds, recurring figures in the Surrealist works by Magritte.
In 1948 Gaffé married his third wife Jane Labie. When the time had come to retire, they left Brussels for the south of France were they consolidated the few old houses they owned on a plot of land in Cagnes-sur-Mer and turned them into a marvelous setting for their collection. After René died Jane remained in that residence, nicknamed "Midi le Juste", surrounded by his paintings and sculptures, his African and Oceanic works of art and the present lot.
The present lot will be sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité René Magritte.