Copper in the Arts

February 2015

BMA Acquires Monumental Magritte Bronze

Magritte sculptureRene Magritte Bronze Sculpture

The Baltimore Museum of Art today announced it recently added René Magritte’s 1967 sculpture Delusions of Grandeur to its renowned collection of modern art. This monumental bronze was created by the Belgian artist during the last year of his life and there are very few casts. The work came to the BMA as a gift of National Trustee Sylvia de Cuevas and is the first sculpture by Magritte to enter the collection. It will be displayed in a gallery with works by Magritte’s contemporaries, including Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson, and Joan Miró.

“We are thrilled to welcome this remarkable sculpture into the BMA’s celebrated collection of modern art,” says BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “This imaginative artwork so well represents Magritte’s unique vision and is sure to become one of the most memorable artworks on view here.”

René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967) is best known for his surrealist paintings, which place ordinary objects in unusual contexts, often giving new meanings to familiar things. Delusions of Grandeur is one of a series of large bronzes that Magritte produced at the end of his life with the encouragement of his friend and dealer Alexander Iolas, who was the uncle of de Cuevas. Much like his 1962 painting on the same theme, the work appears as a classical torso of a female figure emerging as though in telescopic form, or like a Russian matryoshka doll, each of the three segments nestled within one another.

Magritte has incorporated the theme of enlargement and reduction in this bronze with more of the figure seen in the smallest segment and less in the largest, creating a strong image of the female form. The dimensions of the work are 60” h x 48” w x 32” d.

There are currently more than 850 European and American sculptures in the collection with more than 150 examples on view in the galleries and gardens. These range from 2nd-century marble torsos from ancient Antioch and 19th-century bronzes by Antoine-Louis Barye and Auguste Rodin to contemporary works by Franz West and Nick Cave. At the heart of the sculpture collection are works from the modern era given to the BMA by legendary collectors Claribel Cone and Etta Cone, Jacob Epstein, Robert and Ryda Levi, Saidie May, and Alan and Janet Wurtzburger. Their generous gifts—major sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, and Alexander Calder—are prominently featured in the museum and sculpture garden.

Resources:

Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore, MD, (443) 573-1700

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