René Magritte: The Fifth Season
May 19–October 28, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 15, 2018) — René Magritte: The Fifth Season — presented exclusively at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from May 19 through October 28, 2018 — focuses on the latter half of Magritte’s career, from approximately 1943 to 1967, a period of remarkable transformation and revitalization for the artist. With loans from North and South America, Europe and Asia, it is the most complete presentation of Magritte’s late work mounted since the artist’s death in 1967. Including more than 20 artworks being shown for the first time in a U.S. museum, and the first concentrated examination of Magritte’s sunlit surrealism and gouaches in this country, René Magritte: The Fifth Season marks a major milestone in the artist’s exhibition history.
A key highlight of the exclusive SFMOMA presentation is a collection of five rarely seen canvases from The Enchanted Domain (1953), Magritte’s monumental 360-degree panorama and his largest work. The mural, 236 feet in circumference, was commissioned for a circular room in the Grand Casino in Knokke, Belgium. Magritte created eight oil paintings that established the design of the frieze on a 1:6 scale. With five paintings displayed continuously around a curved gallery wall, SFMOMA’s presentation is the first time in 40 years that this many of The Enchanted Domain works have been seen together in a museum exhibition.
Adjacent to The Enchanted Domain is an astounding selection of works entitled The Dominion of Light. Depicting nighttime landscapes with broad daylight skyscapes, the works in this series show day and night co-existing seamlessly in a scene that Magritte portrayed more than 20 times during his career. Until now, no more than three of these paintings have been exhibited together. This exhibition offers the first opportunity to experience the series simultaneously, in a fully immersive gallery with seven unique depictions, including two monumental canvases that have never previously left Europe.
A longtime leader in using digital content to engage audiences, SFMOMA embraces opportunities to experiment with creative approaches to museum education. Building on a legacy of unique interpretation that appeals to a wide range of learners and visitors, SFMOMA presents the Magritte Interpretive Gallery, in partnership with global design and strategy firm frog.
This gallery at the conclusion of René Magritte: The Fifth Season invites audiences to enter and experience Magritte’s worlds and philosophies through six augmented reality interactions. Utilizing advanced depth-sensing cameras and motion-tracking technology to create an immersive environment, SFMOMA and frog enable visitors to investigate Magritte’s themes through a series of altered and augmented windows. In some, the windows function as digital mirrors in which the viewers’ reflections do not behave as expected. In others, the visitors’ presence in front of the window opens a portal into another reality. Looking past the two-dimensional plane, the Magritte Interpretive Gallery adds a third dimension in which human perception may be manipulated through motion, altered visuals and 3D software. The result is an experience that complements the exhibition, in which visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Magritte’s art, and explore visual perceptions of the world and each another.
For René Magritte: The Fifth Season, SFMOMA’s Interpretive Media team has created a new audio guide available for both iPhone and Android users. Unconventional and impressionistic, the tour features conversational musings and insights from Caitlin Haskell and Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, as well as artists Vija Celmins and Jeff Koons, and writer and personal friend of Magritte, Suzi Gablik. Devices will be available for rental, or visitors can download the experience at sfmoma.org/app.
René Magritte: The Fifth Season, which follows the 50th anniversary of Magritte’s death, builds on SFMOMA’s longstanding relationship with the Magritte Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Curated by Caitlin Haskell, associate curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, it was developed in partnership with the Magritte Foundation.
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. 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.
Support for the exhibition catalogue is provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
In-kind support for the design and development of the interpretive gallery is provided by frog.
René Magritte: The Fifth Season opening events are generously supported by Delvaux. La Maison Delvaux, official purveyor to the Royal Court of Belgium, is honored to support the legacy of René Magritte through this important exhibition at SFMOMA.
René Magritte: The Fifth Season is accompanied by a 148-page catalogue featuring approximately 100 illustrations and essays by Michel Draguet, Clare Elliott, Caitlin Haskell, Katrina Rush, Abigail Solomon-Godeau and Sandra Zalman. The catalogue is edited by Caitlin Haskell and published by SFMOMA in association with D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., New York.
In conjunction with René Magritte: The Fifth Season, SFMOMA offers a robust selection of programs. Offerings include SFMOMA 101 on June 14, 21 and 28, 6–7:30 p.m.; a Special Saturday for Teachers on June 2; School Self-Guided Teacher Tours, June 1–October 28; Higher Education Tours, June 1–October 28; and Public Tours, June 1–October 28. Please visit sfmoma.org for additional information.
Open Friday–Tuesday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Closed Wednesday.
Annual membership begins at $100, and members enjoy free admission. Adult general admission to SFMOMA is $25; admission for seniors 65 years and older is $22; and admission for visitors ages 19 through 24 is $19. The special exhibition René Magritte: The Fifth Season has an additional surcharge for all visitors 19 years and over: $8 weekdays, $10 weekends. General Admission and special exhibitions for all visitors 18 years and under is free.
Private guided tours and group discounts for René Magritte: The Fifth Season are available through the SFMOMA Group Sales team. Tours are one hour in length and are not included with museum admission. Tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance. For more information or to submit an inquiry, please visit sfmoma.org/groups.