Lessines, Belgium 1898 – Bruxelles 1967 (Belgian)

Title: Indiscreet Jewellery | Les bijoux indiscrets, 1963

Technique: Original Signed and Numbered Lithograph in Colours on Arches Wove Paper

Paper size: 32 x 40.5 cm. / 12.6 x 16 in.
Image size: 23.3 x 30 cm. / 9.8 x 11.8 in.

Additional information: This original lithograph hand signed in pencil by the artist “Magritte” at the lower right margin.
It is also hand numbered in pencil from the edition of 75, at the lower left margin. There were also 20 hors commerce [out of trade] impressions aside from the standard edition of 75.
There was an unsigned and unnumbered edition with the title of the work printed in the lower left corner of the composition published in the same year as an edition of 2,000.
The paper bears the ‘Atelier René Magritte’ dry stamp in the lower right corner of the paper.
It was printed by Fernand Mourlot, Paris and was published by XXe Siècle Éditions, Paris.
The paper also bears the Arches watermark. TBC

Other impressions of this subject are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
The image is closely related ro Magitte’s oil painting of 1963 “Les bijoux indiscrets”.
xecuted in 1963, Les bijoux indiscrets is a work which shows a hand which has a face, its eyes closed, on its wrist.
Magritte had originally intended to call the oil version of this work, which he conceived of in 1962 but only finally painted during the following year, La divine comédie, but according to the catalogue raisonné changed his mind following the suggestion of his friend Paul Scutenaire.
Instead of the Dante reference, it was replaced by one to Denis Diderot’s first novel, a satire in which a monarch had a magic ring able to make the genitals of women speak.
In an old English translation, the bijoux were the ‘toys’, or genitals, of the women, making the play on the notion of transformative and elusive jewels evoked by Magritte’s picture all the more complex.
For here, in place of a bracelet, is a human face: this is, indeed, an indiscreet jewel; however, in the eighteenth-century novel the indiscretion was shared by the ring which was able to gain such voluble responses from the women of the fictitious Congo of which the main protagonist was sultan and by those women’s no-longer-private parts themselves.
This title therefore adds an extra layer of Surrealism to the work, paying homage to one of the movement’s predecessors.

Literature: Kaplan, G. E. & Baum, T. (1982). The Graphic Work of René Magritte. New York: II Editions
Reference: Kaplan & Baum 3

Condition: Very good condition. Very pale, unobtrusive toning across the sheet.