René Magritte: The Fifth Season at SFMOMA
On view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from May 19 to Oct. 28, 2018 is René Magritte: The Fifth Season, an exclusive special exhibition looking at the works of the famed surrealist during the latter stages of his career from the 1940s to 1960s.
This period of Magritte's work represents a significant shift away from his previous styles, marked by introspection of his art and its meaning during post-World War II realities in his native Belgium. During this period of instability, Magritte turned to paradoxes within reality, and alternatives to conventions of time and space.
The Fifth Season features more than 50 oil paintings and a dozen gouaches across nine galleries. Many pieces within the exhibit are rarely-seen treasures from museums around the world and private collections. Together, they offer a provocative look at Magritte's use of the irrational to convey meaning and mystery in his artwork.
Specific works on view include the exhibition's title piece, The Fifth Season (1943), an exemplary sample of Magritte's interpretation of Impressionism; Seasickness (1948), a vache painting of bright colors and loose brushwork reminiscent of Expressionism and Fauvism; and Personal Values (1952), a striking and almost comical painting of a cloud-walled bedroom with over-sized objects.
Magritte's use of hypertrophy, an alteration of scale among the familiar, is underscored in the exhibition with additional works The Listening Room (1952), The Tomb of the Wrestlers (1960), and others. Collectively, these are the most complete presentation of Magritte's work in hypertrophy to date.
Signature themes in Magritte's work will be well-represented, such as his painted bottles, exemplified by The Curvature of the Universe (1950), a painting of a glass vessel resembling a cylindrical sky; and his bowler hat figures, through The Happy Donor (1966), featuring the silhouette of bowler-hatted man against a twilit landscape and starry sky. His bowler hat figures are often viewed as a presentation of his alter ego.
Another significant piece included is Magritte's largest work, The Enchanted Domain (1953), a 360-degree panoramic mural, 236 feet in circumference. The exhibition concludes with his Dominion of Light series of landscapes in which day and night exist simultaneously. This is the first time more than three of these works will be shown together.
René Magritte: The Fifth Season is on view from May 19 through Oct. 28, 2018. Tickets are on sale now; access to this special exhibition is available with paid entry separate from general admission. Further information, and ticket purchase, is available at SFMOMA online.