It was in about 1922, after seeing some work by De Chirico, that Magritte really began to focus on the ideas that were to bring him into the centre of the Surrealist circle. At the crux of his thinking was the conceptual gulf that lies between what we are certain of about the existence of ourselves and our belief but not certainty about the actual existence of any other object. To illustrate this concept, and to further elucidate it, Magritte began to use an imagery which forces the viewer to rethink his whole concept of totally familiar objects.
Magritte used the imagery of the ‘Man with a Bowler Hat’ on many occasions throughout his artistic career, from the 1920’s right up to the end of his life. This etching was one of the last occurrences of it in his oeuvre. He was working on the composition when he died, and the completion of the plate and the edition of the etching was printed for his widow (who authorised the facsimile stamp signature and the authentication stamp – see above).
Etching in black ink on a beige background. 1966/68. Signed with the signature stamp. (No pencil signed impressions exist). Numbered in pencil from the edition of 150 on wove paper. (Total edition of 350). With the authentication blindstamp: Gravure Originale Atelier René Magritte – Original Etching Magritte Studio. Issued in the series: Le Lien de Paille, Paris 1968. Ref: Kaplan-Baum – Magritte no19
Excellent impression. On pale cream Arches-type wove paper. Excellent condition. Full margins. Sheet: 10 7/8 x 8 5/8ins. Plate: 7 7/8 x 5 7/8ins (200 x 150mm).