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Status, price and estimation of the artist René MAGRITTE

Average estimate for a photograph: 150 – 4,000€.

Price of a signed painting: 600,000 – 18,000,000€.

Estimate of a drawing or watercolour by the artist for auction: 3,000 – 3,000,000€.

Selling price of a lithograph: 200 – 7,000€.

Who is René MAGRITTE?

René Magritte was a Belgian painter affiliated to the surrealist movement. He did not create any new pictorial technique, nor any great revolutionary movement in art, focusing more on the metaphysical and mysterious side of painting. Today he is one of the most famous Belgian painters and the price of his works on the art market is very high. In 2018, The Pleasure Principle, for example, won the auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s New York with an auction of more than 26.8 million dollars.

The friend of the surrealists

Magritte trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels at the same time as Paul Delvaux. He will follow the courses of Symbolist painters or painters close to the Art Nouveau movement. Then, while working in Brussels as a designer for posters and magazines, he discovered cubism and futurism. His real encounter with the avant-gardes took place in 1922 when Magritte met Camille Goemans, Mesens and Marcel Lecomte who introduced him to the Dadaist milieu and introduced him to De Chirico’s painting. Magritte remains deeply marked by the work of the metaphysical painter of whom he declared “ ce day there, I saw the pensée ”.

In Paris from 1927 to 1930, Magritte collaborated with the Surrealists, including André Breton, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí, but their ideas differed on certain conceptions of art and Magritte soon returned to Belgium.

A reading through the prism of his life

Unlike his surrealist friends, Magritte has always denied the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in painting and art history. Nevertheless, an interpretation of his work can be made through the strong events of his youth. Thus, the taste for mystery that permeates the artist’s works comes, according to his own words, from his earliest childhood, when he was in bed trying to guess the contents of a crate placed nearby. This mysterious crate is found in several of his works, such as The Female Thief, 1927.

The second very strong image found in many of the artist’s paintings is that of one or more faces hidden by a veil, notably in one of the artist’s masterpieces, The Lovers, 1928, New York, MoMa. This iconography can be related to the suicide of his mother, found a few days after her death with her face covered by her dressing gown. In addition, mother-son relationships are a fairly recurrent theme in the artist’s work.

A painter of metaphysics and the surreal

Magritte’s painting uses a specific recurring visual vocabulary, easily identifiable for the viewer: apple, man with bowler hat, pipe, bird… These simple images are interwoven in several possible levels of reading that play on the gap between an object and its representation as in  ”Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, 1928-29, Los Angeles, LACMA.

As a metaphysical painter, Magritte endeavoured to represent the painter’s thoughts on the object he wishes to depict while leaving a large part to enchantment and mystery. He has slipped into the gap between the real world and representation by using paint as a mystery box.

Recognising René Magritte’s signature

Like many artists, René Magritte did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of the signatures to give you an idea. Variations of these signatures do exist, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to formally authenticate a signature.

expertise signature magritte

Appraise and sell a painting by René Magritte

If you own a René Magritte painting or any other sculpture, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.