David Sylvesters monumental monograph shows the incredible creativity of the painter, whose astonishing poetic invention was undoubtedly the most fertile in international Surrealism. At a time when the new Magritte Museum, with about 160 artists works, is about to open in Brussels, a new edition of David Sylvesters book, which has been out of print for more than a decade, was essential.

David Sylvester, well known for his studies of Henry Moore, Picasso and Francis Bacon, was the curator of several exhibitions of the work of René Magritte, including the widely acclaimed retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1969, and he earned a reputation as the foremost expert on Magrittes work. In a departure from critical methods that had previously been applied, he gave preference to precise fact-finding and documentary evidence rather than commentary or interpretation of the works.

His magisterial monograph, made up of more than forty chapters and as many clues to Magritte’s puzzles, provides an overview, firmly grounded in art history, that places René Magritte in the context of Surrealism and the art of the twentieth century. It takes full advantage of the significant discoveries published in the catalogue raisonné of the artist, of which Sylvester was also the editor, issued in 5 volumes by the same publishers, and indeed of the twenty-five years of research supported by the Menil Foundation.

The director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Professor Michel Draguet, who has realized this new edition also contributes a text, which serves both as an homage to the original author and as a plan of action: Reconnaissance without end, René Magritte put to the test by David Sylvester: The story of an unlikely encounter”.

Published by Fonds Mercator in association with the Menil Foundation.