Best Magritte Book?
May 11, 2011 11:07 PM   Subscribe

I've recently fallen completely in love with Homesickness by Magritte and find myself quite enamored by his other works as well. Summer is coming, and although I have no background in Art History, I really want to know more about Rene. What is the best book I can read about his life and art?

Bonus points for cool articles/sites, although one solid book ala Rimbaud by Graham Robb is the sort of thing I'm seeking, hivemind.
posted by Chipmazing to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I would start with Suzi Gablik's bio and Robert Hughes' Portable Magritte, then David Sylvester's monograph. If you're into a more theoretical approach, Foucault's This Is Not a Pipe is also essential.

(I edited this book on Magritte and his influence on pop and contemporary art a few years ago. I wouldn't say it's the ideal introduction to Magritte, but once you're versed more generally with his biography and work you might also enjoy seeing how artists who came after him were inspired by his work and approach. It also contains a good chronology of Magritte's life, as well as a thorough bibliography and exhibition chronology, which will give you some good jumping-off points for further explorations.)
posted by scody at 12:00 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, you might also want to consider this overview of dada and surrealism if you find you're interested more generally in the context of the European avant-garde movements in which Magritte was working.
posted by scody at 12:04 AM on May 12, 2011

Not remotely an answer to your actual question, but Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson is a novel that is influenced by, and refers frequently to, Magritte.
posted by willpie at 11:59 AM on May 12, 2011

I fear I might have approached this question like the silly English/Government major that I am. For the quick and inexperienced - what are the pros/cons between a straight forward bio and a monograph?
posted by Chipmazing at 12:42 PM on May 12, 2011

Well, in this case, the main difference is that the Sylvester book is pretty much the definitive, encyclopedic reference book on Magritte, while the Gablik book is a little smaller and perhaps more intimate read. (There's the practical side of things, too: the Gablik book will only cost you a few bucks used, while the Sylvester book is a little pricier -- though it's still under $35, which is actually a tremendous bargain in the world of art books.) There's really no right or wrong answer; it depends on which way you want to start.
posted by scody at 2:40 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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