Le miroir vivant

René Magritte,The Living Mirror, 1928, oil on canvas, Collection Galerie Paolo Vedovi

Press Release 

Le miroir vivant
Magritte Meets the Collection

10 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is currently making every effort to purchase ‘Le miroir vivant’ of 1928 by René Magritte (1898-1967). The painting would be a splendid addition to the museum’s world-famous collection of Surrealist art. The museum has until the end of the year to raise the necessary funds. The early work by Magritte is currently on view in the museum. It is the key work in an exhibition that will link the painting to fifty different holdings from the collection in a surprising and associative way.

The Living Mirror
‘Le miroir vivant’ is part of a group of dozens of word and image paintings that Magritte made in the early years of his career (between 1927-1929). The expressive effect of language made this an experimental work. In ‘Le miroir vivant’ four interconnected cloudlike white shapes each feature a short, enigmatic text. The words ‘personnage éclatant de rire’ (person roaring with laughter), ‘armoire’ (closet), ‘horizon’ and ‘cris d’oiseaux’ (birds’ calls) evoke countless personal associations. Yet the relationship between the words and the meaning of this distinctly non-figurative painting remain difficult to fathom. Rarely does a painting from those early years come on to the market. The work would be a major addition to the later, better-known works by Magritte already in the collection, and it would act as a bridge between Dadaism, Surrealism, conceptual and Pop Art, art movements that are all well represented in the museum’s collection.

Associative Presentation
In close dialogue with curator Franscesco Stochhi, the American artist Alex da Corte (1981) composed an exhibition that takes ‘Le miroir vivant’ as its starting point. The words and concepts in Magritte’s enigmatic painting are clues to stories that visitors can fathom out for themselves. The narrative and the everyday in Magritte’s work are the connecting thread in the exhibition. With fifty paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations by artists such as Marcel Broodthaers, Jim Dine, Dan Flavin, Duane Hanson and David Hockney, intimate, artistic links are forged between works of art and movements like Dadaism, Minimalism and Pop Art. Some works have never been shown before, such as the recent donations of works by Nate Lowman and Alex Israel. The exhibition unveils some of the lesser known post-war works of the collection.

In Search of Magritte
The documentary ‘Conducting Boijmans’, which premiered at the IFFR in January 2015, will be competing for a Golden Calf at the Nederlands Film Festival (23 September to 2 October 2015). Film director Sonia Herman Dolz followed Boijmans’ director Sjarel Ex in his work for the museum. The documentary shows how he tracked down ‘Le miroir vivant’ and examined the painting with a private collector in New York. At first Sjarel Ex was unable to persuade the owner to put the work up for sale, but last March it ‘surfaced’ at TEFAF, the international art fair staged in Maastricht.

The Vereniging Rembrandt, thanks in part to Dura Kunstfonds, Fonds Willem van Rede, Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Bankgiro Loterij, Mondriaan Fonds, VSBfonds and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds thanks in part to Breeman Talle Fonds have already promised to contribute to the purchase of this work.