Magritte on abstract art

10:05 AM

Autumn Rhythm (number 30) by Jackson Pollock, 1950

Surrealist painter René Magritte once wrote in a letter to André Bosmans that: 

“All the abstract paintings reveal only abstract painting, and absolutely nothing else. (…) I cannot share an interest in what abstract painting is able to say, which was summed up once and for all by the first abstract painting.”1

Well, if it isn't the pot calling the kettle black...

I partly agree with his dissatisfaction with abstract paintings because, in general, I don't like them very much. (Exceptions made to Jackson Pollock and maybe Cy Twombly).

But it’s funny how Magritte dismiss abstract paintings, since his paintings are somewhat abstract themselves. Not in the sense that they are not figurative, because they are. 

More in the sense that they are so mysterious and enigmatic. His paintings, though not abstract per se, look more like abstract ideas than figurative paintings.

Personal Values by Rene Magritte, 1952

Do you remember his random explanation for one of his paintings? 

I bet he thought his works are able "to say" many things, but I know for a fact that for many people they are baffling and unintelligible. It might be easier to understand and like Jackson Pollock's paintings than Magritte's. 

How do you fell about Abstract Art?

Source: “Magritte: the true art of painting.” By Harry Torczyner

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  1. I can take or leave Absract art but I *love* Magritte, granted you need to know a bit of theory, especially psychoanalysis, but I don;t think I'll ever tire of looking at seemingly incongruous items painted side by side. We need this kind of this in our lives :)

  2. Magritte does have many admirers. I used to like his art a lot and seeing some of his paintings live was a great experience. But I guess reading more about him and surrealism made me question his paintings even more!

    I'm curious, though, to why do you think we need this type of painting. xx


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