ARTS & CULTURE
11/21/2013 12:38 pm ET

Happy Birthday To Our Favorite Man In A Bowler Hat, Rene Magritte

Today is the birthday of Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. Born on this day 115 years ago, the clever painter pulled off bowler hats and painterly deception like no other artist before or after him.

Magritte began his art career in the early 20th century, joining the ranks of the Parisian Surrealists in 1926 with his painting, "The Lost Jockey." From there, the man with a penchant for manifestos and hypnopompic visions exploded onto the European art scene with playful and provocative works like "The Treachery of Images," featuring the iconic image of a lone pipe with the caption, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe").

In honor of Magritte's birthday, we've put together a collection of 10 of the best paintings from MoMA's "Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938" exhibition. The massive show highlights 80 paintings, collages and objects from the artist's career, providing a comprehensive peek into the mind of a master.

Le faux miroir (The False Mirror)

eye

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). Le faux miroir (The False Mirror). 1929. Oil on canvas. 21 1/4 x 31 7/8″ (54 x 80.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

La trahison des images - Ceci n’est pas une pipe (The Treachery of Images - This is Not a Pipe)

pipe

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) (The Treachery of Images [This is Not a Pipe]). 1929. Oil on canvas. 23 3/4 x 31 15/16 x 1 in. (60.33 x 81.12 x 2.54 cm). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013. Photograph: Digital Image © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA,Licensed by Art Resource, NY

La durée poignardée (Time Transfixed)

train

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La durée poignardée (Time Transfixed). 1938. Oil on canvas. 57 7/8 x 39″ (147 x 99 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Joseph Winterbotham Collection. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

Les amants (The Lovers)

lovers

René Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967). Les amants (The Lovers). 1928. Oil on canvas. 21 3/8 x 28 7/8″ (54 x 73.4 cm). Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Richard S. Zeisler. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

Le Palais de rideaux, III (The Palace of Curtains, III)

curtains

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). Le Palais de rideaux, III (The Palace of Curtains, III). 1928-29. Oil on canvas. 32 x 45 7/8″ (81.2 x 116.4 cm). Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced)

head

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced). 1937. Oil on canvas. 31 7/8 x 25 9/16 in. (81 x 65 cm). Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013. Photograph: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

L’assassin menacé (The Menaced Assassin)

style

René Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967). L’assassin menacé (The Menaced Assassin). 1927. Oil on canvas. 59 1/4″ x 6′ 4 7/8″ (150.4 x 195.2 cm). Museum of Modern Art. Kay Sage Tanguy Fund. © Charly Herscovici – ADAGP – ARS, 2013

La clef des songes (The Interpretation of Dreams)

horse

René Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967). La clef des songes (The Interpretation of Dreams). 1935. Oil on canvas. 16 1/8 x 10 5/8″ (41 x 27 cm). Collection of Jasper Johns. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013. Photograph: Jerry Thompson

La clairvoyance (Clairvoyance)

bird

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La clairvoyance (Clairvoyance). 1936. Oil on canvas. 21 1/4 x 25 9/16″ (54 x 65 cm). Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Ross. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

La condition humaine (The Human Condition)

condition

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La condition humaine (The Human Condition). 1933. Oil on canvas. 100 x 81 x 1.6 cm (39 3/8 x 31 7/8 x 5/8 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collector’s Committee. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

Le portrait (The Portrait)

pancake

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). Le portrait (The Portrait). 1935. Oil on canvas. 28 7/8 x 19 7/8″ (73.3 x 50.2 cm). Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Kay Sage Tanguy. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP – ARS, 2013

"Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938" will be on view until January 12, 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art.

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