Insights

Dickinson gallery is pleased to have facilitated the acquisition by the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe of a rare early work by the great Belgian Surrealist René Magritte, Le Goût de L’invisible.

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

– René Magritte

Le Goût de L’invisible was painted in 1927 during a period of radical productivity, when Magritte broke from his roots as a graphic artist to forge his own Surrealist lexicon. A move to Paris the same year propelled Magritte into French Surrealist circles, which included Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and eventually Salvador Dalí, among others. Never fully absorbed into the group, Magritte did not exhibit his work at the Galerie Surréaliste, instead staging solo shows in his native Belgium.

Between his arrival in Paris in September 1927 and the end of the year, Magritte executed some thirty paintings, and he produced more than one hundred the following year. Innovations included the use of biomorphic forms (which recall the forms in sculptural reliefs by Arp), his word-paintings, and the “toiles decoupées” (cut-up canvases). However, David Sylvester suggests that Magritte was already branching off in a new direction before his arrival in Paris, dating Le Goût de L’invisible to the second quarter of the year. The title underscores Magritte’s preoccupation with the visible and invisible, and the composition plays on a rich underwater imagery, mixing floating organic matter with solid, rock-like formations.

Although the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe already boasted a world-class collection of Surrealist art, which includes pieces by Ernst, Tanguy and Miro, this is the first Magritte to enter their holdings. It thus fills a crucial gap in the collection. Museum Director Pia Müller-Tamm welcomed the addition, stating: “The recent acquisition of the Magritte represents an additional attraction that will surely draw visitors to the Orangerie at the Kunsthalle, where they can enjoy a panorama of inter-war Surrealist art.”

Acquisition funds were raised with the support of the Museumsstiftung Baden-Württemberg, the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation, and the Kulturstiftung der Länder. Dr Martin Hoernes, Secretary-General of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation, announced: “The acquisition of Magritte’s Le Goût de L’invisible means that the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe will feature a new ‘highlight’ very much in keeping with the wishes of the foundation’s original benefactor, Ernst von Siemens.”

Petra Olschowski, Secretary of State for the Arts for Baden-Württemberg, adds: “I am delighted that the acquisition of the Magritte painting will help our efforts to further boost the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe’s profile.”

Le Goût de L’invisible is now on view at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.

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