The Unknown Sheet Music Covers of René Magritte

by Hrag Vartanian on April 20, 2012

René Magritte, "Arlita / Chanson Lumineuse," sheet music cover (C. 1925). 13 1/4x10 1/2 inches, 33 1/2x26 3/4 cm.

Many people are well aware of René Magritte’s Surrealist art with his erie figures, strange juxtapositions and advertising-influenced sensibility. Well, most people probably are unfamiliar with Magritte’s Art Deco commercial work. Like many other artists, Magritte worked in the graphic arts and during much of the 1920s he worked in a wallpaper factory and also designed posters, advertisements and sheet music covers.

According to Swann Galleries in Manhattan, which is auctions some of his works in an upcoming Modernist Poster sale in May, Magritte designed approximately 40 sheet music covers largely in the Art Deco style. While they aren’t exactly his classic brand of Surrealist, it’s kind of nice — if you’re a die-hard Magritte fan — to think you can possibly own a Magritte for under a $1,000.

"Marche des Snobs," sheet music cover (1924). 13 3/4x10 1/2 inches, 35x26 3/4 cm. J. Buyst, Brussels.

"Mes Rêves," sheet music cover. 1926. 13 1/2x10 1/2 inches, 34 1/4x26 3/4 cm. Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels.

"Le Tango des Aveux," sheet music cover (1926), 13 3/4x10 1/2 inches, 35x26 3/4 cm. Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels.

Nuits D'Adie/Fox - Trot. Sheet music cover (1925), 13 3/4x10 1/4 inches, 35x26 cm. Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels.

"Un Rien … (Nothing)," sheet music cover (1925). 13 3/4x10 3/4 inches, 35x27 1/4 cm. Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussel

And don't think Magritte stopped making posters in the 1920s. This 1949 beauty from the Second Film and Fine Arts World Festival of Belgium is probably more of what we've become accustomed to when we think of the artist. 47 3/4x30 1/2 inches, 121 1/4x77 1/2 cm. O. de Rycker, S.A., Brussels.

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  • I really think that last one is pretty strong (very Megritte Surrealist style).  These are great to see! 

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