Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte is highly celebrated for his hyper-realistic paintings that challenge the viewer’s preconceived perceptions of reality. Magritte is perhaps best-known for his painting The Treachery of Images, 1929, in which he depicts a pipe accompanied by the message “Ceci n’est pas un pipe” (“This is not a pipe”).
Beginning his career as a graphic artist who dabbled in abstraction, by 1926 Magritte had reinvented himself as a figurative painter. The naturalism of his paintings emphasises the displacement of everyday objects in scenarios where they would not usually belong, such as an apple hovering in front of a face or a mirror reflecting what is behind it, instead of in front of it.
Magritte’s ability to render the ordinary extraordinary through his technical skill, imagination and penchant for trompe l’oeil – optical illusions – have made his work some of the most highly respected and coveted in the world, synonymous with the greatest international public collections such as Tate in London and MoMA in New York and flagship auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.