Imagine walking the suburbs of Brussels. Suddenly you see one solitary old street lantern that vaguely reminds you of some paintings you saw during your visit to the Magritte Museum. Then you spot a house with a doorbell that says ‘Magritte’. You ring it. Someone opens the door and lets you in.
Yes, you have entered the residence of René Magritte (1898-1967).
In this small house, Belgium’s most famous painter lived with his wife Georgette Berger between 1930 and 1954. They rented the ground floor. Their friends, a bunch of artists, often came over to discuss new surrealist ideas and aesthetics. In the small dining room René Magritte created over 800 works, half of his total artistic production – including a great number of his masterpieces.
The entire house was turned into a lovely little museum in 1999. This modest gem is a brilliant alternative to the immensely popular and crowded Magritte Museum in the city centre (read the Mont des Arts article). The restored rooms suck you into the artist’s daily world. You will recognize many elements such as the staircase, windows, fireplace or closets which appear in Magritte’s paintings. Personal documents, photographs, letters, watercolors and some paintings draw you further into the artist’s life and mind.
René and Georgette did not have any children. But they were very fond of their dogs. They even stuffed one of them after its death. The white dog is lying on their bed, happily smiling. Ceci est un chien de Magritte.
Quite surreal, if you think about it.