Magritte's Forgeries

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 2:03:29 PM

Hi,

This Blog we'll examine Marcel Marien's claim that they sold forgeries that Magritte painted in the early 1940's. At some point I'll be doing more research on this topic.

Marcel Mariën published Magritte's first book of prints in 1943. This was done during the German occupation of Belgium when money was tight. The book with 20 color plates was published by Marien,  Scutenaire and Magritte in 1943. Here's some information from  "La Reproduction Interdite: René Magritte and Forgery" by Patricia Allmer© Patricia Allmer, 2007

"The first monograph on René Magritte’s art, entitled Magritte, was published in 1943. Marcel Marïen wrote the introductory essay for the book and Magritte himself chose twenty images which were reproduced in colour. As David Sylvester writes: ‘There was one highly significant difference in the book as published from the book as originally planned – that all the reproductions were in colour. This was a surprising development given the cost involved and Magritte’s precarious financial position…’ 

Marcel Mariën’s autobiography Le Radeau de la mémoire states that the funds for this book, and for other projects, stemmed from Magritte’s production and sale, between 1942 and 1946, of artistic forgeries. Mariën cites Magritte to illustrate his relaxed attitude towards forgeries stating ‘that buying a fake diamond without knowing will cause the same degree of satisfaction [as buying a real one], due to the fact that one has paid a high price for it.’ [3] Sylvester has reproduced some of the forged images in question in the Magritte Catalogue Raisonné..."

According to Marien's biography: Marcel Mariën along with Scutenaire and Nougé published a collection of paintings by Magritte. From 1942 he frequently went to Paris clandestinely selling forged paintings by Magritte of Renoir, Klee, Picasso, Leger, and De Chirico. Marien wrote,  “From 1942 with 1946, I sold a big number of drawings and paitnings (gouches), mostly forgeries of Picasso, Braque and Chirico, all made by Magritte." 

Maien claimed to take some of the forgeries to France and others were sold through the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Here is one work that substantiate's Marien's claim:


Magritte: Signed Klee (no date given- circa 1942-1946)

This painting was found hanging on above the staircase at Georgette's house after Rene was dead. It is signed Klee and is one painting that gives credence to Marien's claim that they participated in selling forged art druing the 1940s.

Perhaps the most intriguing evidence come from Marcen Marien's December 1983 article, "The American Twin" where he compares the two identical versions of "The Flavor of Tears" that Magritte painted in 1948. In his article he provides an excerpt from a letter written by Magritte on May 19, 1944: "I am still going through a period of intense fatigue, I have not created anything recently except to begin work on a Titan and a Hobbema, that I intend for the Auction House; I am trying my hand at this sort of painting and if it is more sucessful than Magritte painting, I will give up the later because of insufficient reward." That's all for now,

Marien also includes photographs in his book of two of Magritte's "Picassos" a drawing made in 1944 and a painting done in 1945. Magritte also made use of Picasso's ideas to paint his "The White Race."

 

 

Richard

 

 

 

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