Exhibition

Rene Magritte

The Fifth Season

May 19–October 28, 2018

Floor 4

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René Magritte (1898–1967) was one of the most intriguing painters associated with Surrealism, but he did not fully find his voice until after breaking ties with the movement. This exhibition, the first to look exclusively at Magritte’s late career, examines his most important bodies of work from the 1940s through the 1960s, and shows how they marked a fundamental shift in painting from Modernism to our own time.

Featuring more than 70 artworks in nine immersive, thematic galleries, René Magritte: The Fifth Season explores how Magritte balanced irony and conviction, philosophy and fantasy, to illuminate the gaps between what we see and what we know. Together, the works reveal Magritte as an artist acutely attuned to the paradoxes at work within reality, and an enduring champion of the role of mystery in life and art.


Exhibition Preview

René Magritte, Le fils de l’homme (The Son of Man), 1964; private collection; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Banque d’Images, ADAGP / Art Resource, NY

René Magritte, Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952; collection SFMOMA, purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

René Magritte, Le domaine enchanté I (The Enchanted Domain I), 1953; Würth Collection, Künzelsau, Germany; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Banque d’Images, ADAGP / Art Resource, NY

René Magritte, L’empire des lumières (The Dominion of Light), 1954; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

René Magritte, L’heureux donateur (The Happy Donor), 1966; Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels; ©© Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: © Community Museum of Ixelles

René Magritte, Le monde invisible (The Invisible World), 1954; The Menil Collection, Houston; ©© Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Hickey-Robertson, Houston

René Magritte, La courbure de l’univers (The Curvature of the Universe), 1950; the Menil Collection, Houston; ©© Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Paul Hester

René Magritte, La préméditation (Forethought), 1943; Koons Collection; © ©Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

René Magritte, Le tombeau des lutteurs (The Tomb of the Wrestlers), 1960; private collection; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

René Magritte, Les promenades d’Euclide (Where Euclid Walked), 1955; Minneapolis Institute of Art, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund; ©© Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art


Exhibition Catalogue

Featuring full-color plates of approximately 50 oil paintings, and a dozen of the artist’s gouaches, René Magritte: The Fifth Season offers a new understanding of Magritte’s special position in the history of 20th-century art.

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Audio Guide Tour

This unconventional audio tour features musings and insights from SFMOMA curators Caitlin Haskell and Gary Garrels, the artists Vija Celmins and Jeff Koons, and the writer—and friend of Magritte—Suzi Gablik.
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More on Magritte
Highlighting Magritte’s ability to question what we see and what we know, these stories reveal the artist’s acute awareness of the paradoxes at work within reality and the role of mystery in art and life.
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Lead support for René Magritte: The Fifth Season is provided by Carolyn and Preston Butcher.

Major support is provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and Pat Wilson.

The Bernard Osher Foundation

Generous support is provided by Jim Breyer, Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Jacqueline Evans, Linda and Jon Gruber, Melinda and Kevin P.B. Johnson, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, Lydia Shorenstein, Sheri and Paul Siegel, Shannon and Dennis Wong, and Kay Harrigan Woods.

Additional support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities and in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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In-kind support for the design and development of the interpretive gallery is provided by frog.

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Header image: René Magritte, Le fils de l’homme (The Son of Man), 1964 (detail); private collection; © 2017 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Banque d’Images, ADAGP / Art Resource, NY