BRUSSELS – The final piece of a lost painting by Belgian surrealist master Renee Magritte was discovered on Tuesday in Brussels after a decades-long search.
“La pose enchantée” was painted by Magritte in 1927, but in 1935 he cut up the canvas to be re-used for other paintings as he considered this work did not match the style that he was hoping his works would have in the future, the director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Michel Draguet, told EFE.
The top right section of the painting was found behind “Dieu n’est pas un saint,” painted by Magritte between 1935 and 1936, ending an 80-year enigma and allowing the virtual reconstruction of a work that could previously only be seen whole in a photograph taken in 1932.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York had in 2013 analyzed “Le portrait” ahead of an exhibition and found that, underneath the Belgian artist’s depiction of a slice of ham on a plate topped with an eyeball, there was a hidden painting.
Using ultra-violet rays, MoMA conservationists discovered the upper left corner of the lost work, a section that depicted half of one of the two women that leaned on identical classic columns in a style similar to Spanish cubist Pablo Picasso’s works of the time.
The canvas’ destruction was possibly also linked to financial hardships, as at the time he had to sell his book collection to be able to return to his native Belgium from Paris, was forced to find a job in publicity – a job that he himself termed “idiotic” – and depended heavily on his wife Georgette, who began to work with him.
Draguet said “La pose enchantée” was most likely going to have been exhibited in Paris in 1930, but the 1929 economic crisis forced many galleries to shut down and Magritte had to go back to Brussels.
Another piece of the puzzle was discovered by the Norwich Castle Museum in the 1935 painting “La condition humaine” and the final panel was found under “Le modèle rouge,” which hangs in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.