Brussels to host Magritte museum

After Van Gogh, Picasso and Paul Klee, the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte will have his own museum by 2009. Based in Brussels, it will feature some 170 works by Magritte, making it the world's biggest collection of its kind.


A new museum dedicated to Belgian surrealist master Rene Magritte is to open in Brussels on June 9 next year, the director of Belgium's fine arts museums announced Tuesday, as the project was launched.

The museum, meant to match art lovers' favourites like the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam or the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, will be located in the Hotel Altenloh, in the Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts complex on the Place Royale.

It will feature some 170 works by Magritte spread over 2,500 square metres (26,910 square feet) -- making it the world's biggest and most diverse collection of its kind, director Michel Draguet said.

French group Suez is helping to build and pay for the 4.5 million-euro (7.1 million-dollar) permanent show of works by an artist famous for eye-catching pictures often involving startling dream-like juxtapositions.

Magritte, who died in 1967 at the age of 68, developed a style which uses a misleading kind of realism to create elaborate and provocative fantasies constructed around commonplace situations.

Among his most famous pictures are The Son of Man, depicting a bowler-hatted figure with an apple floating before his face, while other well-known images include Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe) -- depicting a pipe.

To celebrate the launch, the site was to be covered late Tuesday by a giant tarpaulin bearing one of Magritte's most celebrated works: Empire of Light, from 1954, featuring a dimly lit house set against a signature cloudy blue sky.


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