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Magritte Hardcover – March 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The late David Sylvester was the curator of several exhibitions of the work of  René Magritte, including the widely acclaimed retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1969, and he earned a reputation as the foremost expert of Magritte's work. Michel Draguet is Director of the Magritte Museum in Brussels.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Revised & enlarged edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9061538564
  • ISBN-13: 978-9061538561
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.6 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Reich Claude on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Originally published in 1992, this is an updated version of the monumental monograph written by one of the best art critics of the XXth century, the late David Sylvester. Sylvester was the author of the Magritte catalogue raisonné and this book complements it with an encyclopedic text that is nevertheless easy to read and devoid of any pretentious cant. The author's style is concise, precise and elegant and I can't think of any better way to write about art: Sylvester describes without discoursing, explains without judging and always leaves it to the reader to make his or her own opinion about the work, based on the best possible knowledge of the artist.

The book is replete with hundreds of illustrations, many full-page (and full color), some thumbnails (a few of these in black and white)and some half-page. The only slight criticism I would dare to make is that there are no magnified details, but again, this should not keep this book from deserving 5 stars.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. Sanchez on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is close to being a great book on Magritte. Buy it for the impressive reproductions, but if you read, be prepared for frustration. It's a shame Sylvester's organization and essays are so haphazard. His biographical focus on the artist's life events and circumstances can be tedious, obscuring more than enlightening, and his critical comments on the works themselves lack insight. The book's strength is its comprehensive biography, starting with Magritte's mother's early suicide by drowning, and moving to Magritte's learning to paint at 12, his father's affluence, Magritte's marriage to Georgette, painting studies in Brussels during the war, and then on to designing wallpaper, doing commercial art, discovering Surrealism, and trying for years to insert himself into the Surrealist scene in Paris only to give up and return to Brussels at last. Yet when Sylvester breezily skips Magritte's death, leaving it as an unexplained ellipsis between two paragraphs, it makes me wonder what other major omissions I didn't notice. An enormous number of paintings are here, beautifully reproduced. However, the discussion is mostly thematic, going back and forth so much in time that it can be difficult to gain a sense of Magritte's achievement in any direction. I also thought it questionable whether a man who thinks "Le viol" is simply a hilarious joke is qualified to be an art critic. He spends pages talking about "The annunciation" but only discusses "L'empire des lumières (The dominion of light)" for a couple paragraphs in which he mentions Magritte's habit of doing several versions. Beautifully produced book, in short, informative, but not quite brilliant. I would rate the images five stars and the text only three if I could.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hernan Paulo Asselborn on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful book is full of color pictures, lots of this great painter, quality images are often occupying the whole page, I am in full agreement with the previous review, is a great book for those interested in the Surrealism and the genius painter
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Angela Maria Bedran on October 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a really important book for those who admire Magritte. The text is very clarifying about his picture. Besides it is a beautiful book with pictures I had never seen before.
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