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New Magritte Museum Houses the Largest Collection of Magritte Works in the World
King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium observe the painting “Black Magic” made by Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte (1898-1967) during their visit to the new Magritte Museum in Brussels. The royal couple inaugurated the museum dedicated to the Surrealist painter which will open to the public on June 2, 2009. Photo: EFE/ Denis Closson.

BRUSSELS.- On June 2 2009, the Magritte Museum opens its doors to the public on the Place Royale in Brussels. The first museum of this scope devoted to one of the best known artists of the 20th century, presents for the first time the largest collection of Magritte works in the world.

This new cultural and touristic attraction in Belgium has been completed thanks to an original partnership between the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Magritte Foundation, the Belgian Régie des Bâtiments, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Administration, and the GDF SUEZ Group, which completed the museum’s installation thanks to a skill-based sponsorship unique in Belgium.

A prestigious setting for Magritte
Site work was carried out in less than one year by GDF SUEZ teams working alongside Belgium’s Régie des Bâtiments. Their contribution was symbolized by an immense canvas tarpaulin inspired by L’Empire des Lumières (Empire of Light) that covered the building during its restoration. The Hôtel Altenloh, a neo-classical edifice located on Place Royale, was thus transformed into a contemporary museum reference.

With their modern, pedagogical treatment of the museum experience, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Magritte Foundation are unveiling to the public, with over 26,000 sq. ft. and five exhibition levels, the world’s largest collection of René Magritte works of art. Two hundred and fifty artworks and archive pieces are presented together for the first time. They are organized and presented in a manner linking them together by different levels of chronological and thematic interpretation.

With its attachment to the prestigious ensemble of the Royal Fine Arts Museums of Belgium, the Magritte Museum has the advantage of an exceptional location in the heart of Brussels, the painter’s birthplace and the capital of Europe.

The largest collection of works by René Magritte in the world
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, with the support of the Magritte Foundation, has the most remarkable collection of the artist’s work in the world. Representative of René Magritte’s creative evolution, it is unequalled in its richness. There are numerous masterpieces, including Empire of Light (1954), The Return (1940), and Shéhérazade (1948), as well as a highly diverse range of techniques and media (paintings, drawings, gouaches, photographs, sculptures, sundry objects, cinema films, posters, advertisements, etc.), with the various periods of the artist’s life fully covered.

The works presented come mainly from the bequests of Irène Scutenaire-Hamoir, and of Georgette Magritte, and successive purchases made by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, enriched by private loans and donations.

A new generation of single artist museums
“A contemporary thought on the theme of biography,” according to Michel Draguet, Director of the Royal Fine Arts Museums of Belgium, the Musée Magritte Museum is multi-disciplinary, educational, and interactive. State-of-the-art technologies applied by GDF SUEZ are offered to the public to discover the work, thought, and life of Magritte, in careful observance of environment-friendly practices. Reflecting the multi-disciplinary work of René Magritte, the Musée Magritte Museum will also be a center for artistic and scientific exchange focusing on his work. Archives and unpublished documents are available and exhibitions-confrontations strengthen the evolutionary aspect of the path.

Like the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the Zentrum Paul Klee at Berne, the Magritte Museum is intended to become the leading international skill center for research, transmission and presentation of the life, thought and work of René Magritte.

René Magritte, a universal artist
Painter, illustrator, engraver, sculptor, photographer, film-maker, René Magritte (1898-1967) was one of the most eminent artists of the Surrealist movement. He is considered as the most important Belgian painter of the 20th century. Celebrated for his slyly subversive analysis of language and its conceptualization of image, René Magritte is “the man who transformed poetic images into plastic poems,” according to Michel Draguet, Director of the Royal Fine Arts Museums of Belgium.

In his work, Magritte constantly covered his tracks so that the image retained its capacity to surprise, to transform obviousness into mystery. With his word-pictures, whose poetic charge remains indissociable from an anarchist inspiration, Magritte underscored the new status of the object. Through this revolutionary research, Magritte broadly anticipated contemporary artistic movements such as Pop Art or conceptual art.

Magritte Museum | Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium | Magritte Foundation | Belgian Régie des Bâtiments | Belgian Federal Science Policy Administration | GDF SUEZ Group |

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