06 Apr 2020

Find out more about the works exhibited at the Kunstmuseum Basel in our work reviews. Today Eva Reifert, curator for 19th century and classical modernism, describes the painting "L'Empire des lumières" by René Magritte.

Since the situation surrounding the Corona pandemic has worsened in recent weeks, I can't get a picture out of my head: René Magritte's L’Empire des lumières, 1948-1962).

As part of the presentation of selected works of the Esther Grether family collection in the Kunstmuseum, we were able to include it in the presentation of classical modernism last year. The painting is a wonderful example of the calculated enigma that is one of the trademarks of the Belgian surrealist: a blue sky with friendly white clouds rises above a dark row of houses in which a street lamp is burning in solitude. Heaven and earth do not go together – above it is day, below it is night.

What Magritte has designed as a surreal vision, these days seems more like a description of the reality of life, because the contrast between the bright spring sun and our oppressed, introverted cities could hardly be greater.
Written by: Eva Reifert, Curator, 19th Century and Modern Art

You can find more works of collection in our Collection Online.