And a pleasant surprise, as we wandered through the galleries of LACMA, those ones that remained open during the museum’s extensive renovation and expansion. The surprise was finding out that Magritte’s ”Ceci n’est pas une pipe” belongs to LACMA; for some reason, I was convinced it would belong to the permanent collection of the Magritte Museum in Brussels. What a fittingly surreal connection between my two favourite cities in the world!
The monumental Sky above Clouds IV, culmination of a series of clouds Georgia O’Keeffe was inspired to create after having travelled in an airplane for the very first time – in her seventies; a sleek, very art deco, very 007 bar on skis; a multilayered image of woman, Francis Picabia’s Madame X, it was then a new acquisition; the surreal, perfectly circular suns of Max Ernst and René Magritte; the meandering red line outlining anxiety and sadness looking itself in the mirror; a method Paul Klee called “taking a line for a walk”.
|1|- Sky above Clouds IV, 1965, oil on canvas – by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986)
|2|- ”Bar on Skis” Liquor Cabinet, about 1930 – by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann
|3|- Painting of Madame X, 1927/30, oil on canvas – by Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
|4|- Forest and Sun, 1927, oil on canvas – by Max Ernst (1891-1976)
|5|- The Banquet, 1958, oil on canvas – by René Magritte (1898-1967)
|6|- In the Magic Mirror, 1934, oil on canvas, on board – by Paul Klee (1879-1940)
<<”Le Faux Miroir” presents an enormous lashless eye with a luminous cloud-swept blue sky filling the iris and an opaque, dead-black disc for a pupil. The allusive title, provided by the Belgian Surrealist writer Paul Nougé, seems to insinuate limits to the authority of optical vision: a mirror provides a mechanical reflection, but the eye is selective and subjective. Magritte’s single eye functions on multiple enigmatic levels: the viewer both looks through it, as through a window, and is looked at by it, thus seeing and being seen simultaneously. The Surrealist photographer Man Ray, who owned the work from 1933 to 1936, recognized this compelling duality when he memorably described ‘”Le Faux Miroir” as a painting that “sees as much as it itself is seen.”>>
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