Patinated bronze sculpture after René Magritte, casted in France after the painting by René Magritte, "Le Prêtre Marié", 1960.
Inscribed with René Magritte's signature, Magritte Succession's hallmark, stamped by the foundry and with Mr. Charly Herscovici's (President of the Magritte Foundation & representing the Magritte Succession) casted thumbprint under the base.
Numbered, inscribed "bronze cast after the oil on canvas "Le Prêtre Marié" 1960 by René Magritte" under the base.
Le Prêtre Marié (1960)
DIMENSIONS: 17 cm (6.69' in)
EDITION: 150 + 20AP. Posthumous cast.
MEDIUM: Patinated Bronze
The masked apple originally appeared in Magritte's work as the design for a cover for an edition of View, published in December 1 946. Other covers for View had been designed by artists as diverse as Joseph Cornell, André Masson and Marcel Duchamp. Clearly, Magritte was pleased with his image, as he returned to the theme of the masked apple in several paintings over the following decade and a half, exploring various compositions and variations. In Magritte's, the masked apple is a dynamic char- acter, shown against a vivid, shimmering background. This added a sense of movement that Magritte has deliberately dispelled in Le prêtre marié, where the stillness is both unnatural and, of course, in the case of the apple-subjects, entirely natural.
Masks, disguises, hidden faces--all these are repeated motifs in Magritte's pictures. Whether it is in the images of lovers from the 1920s, with sheets covering their kissing heads, the figure of Fantômas in Le barbare or later the apple floating in front of the artist's own face in Le fils de l'homme, these elements introduce a notion of the malleability and illegibility of character, of identity, of selfhood, of life. They are elements used to hide, but also to entertain. They are the accoutrement of the criminal and the actor alike, and in both cases conjure a vivid theatricality. But be it upon the stage or on a moonlit night in the middle of nowhere, these masks are unsettling, as they hide information. They introduce subterfuge, be it in the leisurely suspension-of-disbelief context of the stage or in the more disturbing con- text of someone concealing their own identity.
In Le prêtre marié, the masks actually appear to perform almost the opposite function of some of those other works--where on human figures, masks and other elements remove any possibility of identification, and thereby remove some of the humanity of the subject, here the masked apples are lent a suspicion of impossible humanity by their masks. They in fact gain character, becoming entertaining, even rakish figures on the beach, rather than mere abandoned fruit. It is through the inclusion of the masks that all our questions emerge, all the implications of possible back-stories that make these apples so intriguing. This simple adornment, added to an inanimate object, dispels the literalness of the scene and introduces a wild card, a joker, an element of unpredictability that engages the viewer actively, presenting the apples as intriguing mysteries that are of course impossible to solve.