René Magritte (1898 - 1967), Le domaine enchanté, 1953
Gouache on paper
12.5 x 24.5 cm
Signed bottom left 'Magritte'
Catalogue raisonné: Sylvester Vol. IV: 1363
Price: EUR 1,320,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
This small gouache is one of eight gouaches René Magritte submitted as sketches to the directors of the Grand Casino in Knokke-Heist, where, in 1953, he would eventually create a room-spanning, 360° wall mural, in what is today known as "Salle René Magritte". The panoramic reprise of motifs he had referred to again and again throughout his career which he titled Le domaine enchanté — the enchanted domain. In a sort of seascape- or beach-like setting, most likely a reference to the casino’s location by the sea, Magritte unfolds this review of the imagery, which made him (along with Salvador Dalí) possibly the best-known Surrealist painter in the world.
It is almost impossible to faultlessly decrypt Magritte’s imagery. Motifs and objects recur in paintings again and again throughout his career in different settings, different contexts, remaining as enigmatic and mysterious as they ever were and creating more questions rather than answering them. However, looking at the series of eight, in this gouache in particular, Magritte returns to two of the fundamental themes in his works: the combination of day and night and inside and outside. Of course, neither of these two pairs of antipodes could exist simultaneously in reality, which is why the beholder is immediately baffled by the impression of the work. Space and time, the two fundamental parameters of existence, are shaken all of a sudden and our perception of reality is questioned.
In the process from sketching to finalising the mural, Magritte made some alterations, especially in the arrangement of the birds on the leaf, making this picture a very unique masterpiece. It has been held in private collections from early on and has thus rarely been shown to the public.
Laurent Fierens, Belgium (inscription verso) Hegewisch collection, Hamburg (DE) Galerie Levy, Hamburg (DE), 1977
private collection, Germany
Very good condition
René Magritte: gouaches et dessins, La Sirène, Brussels (BE), 9 – 20 May 1953 (one of nos. 12 – 19). René Magritte, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (DE, 1969; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich (CH), 1969 (no. 57). Galerie Levy, Hamburg, 1977
René Magritte, Kunsthaus Zürich und Kestnergesellschaft Hannover (eds.), Hannover 1969, ill. p. 125. René Magritte. Catalogue Raisonné, David Sylvester (eds.), Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, Antwerp 1994, Vol. IV, p. 159 (ill.), no. 1363
Gerhard Richter (b.1932), Fuji, 1996
Oil on Alucobond, 1996
29 x 37 cm
No. 42 in a series of 110 unique pieces
Signed verso 'Richter'; labelled verso with details of the work and numbering '42' (handwritten)
Fuji is a series of a total of 110 small-format unique prints that Richter created in 1996 for the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich to support the purchase of his monumental Atlas. The present work is number 42 in this series. Although Fuji is commonly referred to as an edition, the unique character of the pieces results from Richter’s squeegee technique, with which he actively uses chance in the artistic process and constructs images.
However, and this is where the edition character comes into play, the starting point for all 110 works was the same: an assistant first coated the picture surfaces with three equally sized colour strips of red, yellow- orange and green oil paint. Richter then drew a squeegee coated with white oil paint, first vertically over the middle and lower colour stripes, then placed the squeegee again at the upper edge of the picture and drew it over the entire surface. It is a very slow, highly concentrated procedure, the result of which is unique colour overlays and complex, extremely fine structures in all 110 repetitions. Admittedly, this purely technical approach does not open up a deeper psychological dimension, such as in surrealistic automatism. Richter himself comments on this in his own dry manner: “I would like to receive something more interesting than what I can think of.”
There is another special feature of the Fuji-series: these are the earliest works in which Richter works with the material alucobond (on which photos are otherwise cascaded) instead of canvas as a picture ground. Alucobond has an extraordinarily smooth surface on which oil paint forms much finer structures than on the open, rough surface of the canvas. However, these small-scale structures limit the format to a certain size. The charm of the alucobond pictures certainly lies in this form of a cabinet piece.
Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich (Germany)
Galerie 20.21, Essen (Germany)
Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)
Very good condition
Catalogue raisonné: catalogue of painting (Elger): 839-24; catalogue of editions (Butin): 89
Gerhard Richter: Fuji, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (Germany), 4 – 9 March 1997
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