René Magritte

Beyond painting

By Patricia Allmer

René Magritte

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7928-3
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2009
  • BIC Category: The arts / Individual artists, art monographs, ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945), BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Artists, Architects, Photographers, History of art, Individual artists, art monographs, Modernism, Art History


René Magritte: Beyond painting offers a rethinking of Magritte's art from a position informed by contemporary developments in art theory.

The book employs a wide range of literary and philosophical/cultural theoretical frameworks to analyse Magritte's art. It offers close readings of specific images, paying attention to neglected aspects of Magritte's work, discussing the significance of cabinets of curiosities and encyclopaedias, trompe l'oeil, framing and forgeries. It addresses a range of intertextual relations between Magritte's work and that of other Surrealist artists and the art-historical tradition.

This book explores how Magritte's art challenges conventional notions of originality, canonicity and coherence, revealing his work as being shaped by co-operations and co-options. It demonstrates that uncertainty, incoherence and negation lie at the core of Magritte's oeuvre.


Rigorously researched, utilizing both archival sources and Magritte's own extensive writing, Allmer weaves these with thoughtful, engaging theory, and her work is sure to be essential reading for scholars of Magritte and Surrealism.


List of plates
List of figures
1. Retheorising Magritte
2. Cabinets of curiosities
3. Forging the past and the present
4. Elective affinities - Between words and images
5. Dialogues entirely painted by hand
6. Framing the real
7. Artistic identity reproduced
8. Coda - After Magritte
List of abbreviations


Patricia Allmer is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Edinburgh

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