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La Chambre du Devin (1926)
By René Magritte
Oil on canvas
Signed ‘Magritte’ (lower right)
Size: 75 x 65 centimetres (29.5 x 25.6 inches)
Estimated price: $700,000-1,000,000

La Chambre du Devin (The Seer’s Chamber) is an important and historic early work by the Belgian master René Magritte (1898-1967). Painted in 1926, only shortly after he had begun to develop his now iconic surreal style, it featured in Magritte’s first one man show and in the first significant article dedicated to his work, both of which occurred in 1927, the year following its execution.

This picture also featured in a number of Magritte’s lifetime exhibitions. It shows a wooden silhouetted figure jutting out through a cavity in a wall which resembles a stage set. There is a sense of mysterious machinery to the picture, with protruding poles and other elements lending an ambience that is partly alien, while the various items shown hover near the borders of recognition. The influence of one of the great pioneers of Pittura Metafisica, Giorgio de Chirico, whose work Magritte had seen in reproduction only shortly before La Chambre du Devin was painted, is evident.

This was one of the great epiphanies of 20th century art: within a short time, Magritte abandoned the post-cubist and post-futurist idioms that had characterised his pictures and instead began to explore the powerful potential of poetic juxtapositions.

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will take place in London on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

For more information please visit http://www.christies.com/ 

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of the DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 9, 2013.