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Au seuil de la liberté

Au seuil de la liberté

René Magritte (in 1930)

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  • qwert asked

    What is the importance and significance of this work?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi, The image is characteristic for the surrealist movement: it’s a reality which could not actually exist except in dreams and in the realm of imagination.

    After ‘Au seuil de la liberté’. Magritte painted another famous painting in 1937: ‘La reproduction interdite’. Magritte based that painting on a photograph he made of Edward James looking at ‘Au seuil de la liberté’. You can read more about this subject on, where you can find an in-depth text on Surrealism.

    So, ‘Au seuil de la liberté’ is not only typically surrealistic, it has also been the basis for another important painting that Magritte made. Best, Daphne

  • Amandine asked

    Is this painting from the series « canvas-words »?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Amandine, no this work is not an example of Magritte's 'word paintings'. Best Rianne


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More information

The painting shows a canon in a room, the walls of which show various images: clouds, the torso of a woman, several planks, or a façade with windows. The title of this work by René Magritte was suggested by his friend Paul Nougé. The title is probably borrowed from a quotation from the book Prester John by John Buchnan: 'The clear air of dawn was like wine in my blood. I was not free, but I was on the threshold of freedom'. In fact, the painting is really a promise.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Au seuil de la liberté
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 146 cm
Height 114 cm
Artists Kunstenaar: René Magritte
Accession number 2709 (MK)
Credits Aankoop / Purchase: 1966
Department Modern Art
Acquisition date 1966
Age artist Unknown
Exhibitions Een prikkelcollectie (2000)
Gek van surrealisme (2017)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
The Collection Enriched (2011)
External exhibitions Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938 (2013)
Surreal Encounters - Collecting the Marvellous (2016)
Dalí, Ernst, Miró, Magritte... (2016)
Dal nulla al sogno (2018)
Geographical origin Belgium > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

René Magritte

Lessen 1898 - Schaarbeek 1967

René Magritte studied at the academy in Brussels. He began as pattern designer in a carpet factory and as painter by painting and designing advertising posters...

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