In the course of this past century, Belgium has fostered several artists of international stature. Among them, the most important is René Magritte (1898-1967) who left behind an oeuvre as familiar to the general public as that of Dali, Max Ernst and Miro. Louisiana's main autumn exhibition, running from 6 August - 28 November 1999, will celebrate René Magritte. The emphasis will be on the artist as a forerunner and source of inspiration for Pop and Conceptual Art
The simplest and most direct way to measure his influence is to list the names of important artists who have acquired works by Magritte for their own walls. This list includes Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jim Dine, as well as the Pop artists Shusaku Arakawa and Pierre Alechinsky. Several of the works owned by these artists will be exhibited at Louisiana. Rauschenberg's collage technique as well as s and Dine's use of words can be seen as inspired by Magritte's work.
The great indebtedness of later conceptual artists to Magritte is also clearly discernible, and Marcel Broodthaers, Robert Gober, Barbara Bloom and Joseph Kosuth even cite him directly in some of their works.
It was not so much Magritte the painter who inspired other artists. Rather it was Magritte the man of ideas who made it possible for artists who came after him to develop his original ideas further. The reason why particularly Magritte's oeuvre caught their attention, as it does ours, is that it touches, in a profound way, on human problems which we recognise from our own lives, problems which Magritte has shed light on and given expression. His analysis of our common traumas and the complexities of life appeals to something within us all, something we all understand. For this reason is he not only extremely popular with the general public but has exerted a great influence on the art of succeeding generations as well.
Magritte's influence, the inspiration he provided, is not
discernible in any direct way in the works presented - due to
the complexity of the exhibition -but each of the exhibited works
possesses this potential.