Le Gouffre Argenté
Date 1926
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75 x 65 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-350
This painting contains many of the ingredients that Magritte used to compose his images. A rough wooden partition wall opens onto a rock face dotted with bells. A metal tool with an unknown purpose is placed on the shelf. On the left, a bilboquet leans against a box decorated with three eyes. These objects are also found in works like L' Arbre savant [The Tree of Knowledge] and Le Groupe silencieux [The Silent Group]; the bent wooden object painted in vibrant colours, and the bilboquet and balustrade, appear in numerous paintings such as Terrasse d' Atahualpa [Atahualpa's Veranda], Portrait de Georgette Magritte [Portrait of Georgette Magritte], L' Homme célèbre [The Famous Man], Le Danseur maladroit [The Clumsy Dancer], Le Jockey perdu [The Lost Jockey], L' Arbre savant [The Tree of Knowledge], La Traversé difficile [The Difficult Crossing], La Naissance de l' idole [The Birth of the Idol] or Le Sommet du regard [The Loftiest Gaze]; while the bells in the rock appear in Le Masque Vide [The Empty Mask] and Le Double Secret [The Double Secret]. Although the rock face adorned with silver bells may have been the inspiration for the title of the painting, it is hard to provide any further explanation of this work – one that is highly representative of Magritte's most inventive period. A member of the surrealist group, Camille Goemans – the first owner of this work – owned a gallery in Brussels from 1926, and then another in Paris from 1929. He exhibited his friend Magritte's work and collaborated with him on several publications. René Gaffé, the second owner, was a famous writer, art critic and Belgian collector, and was also a friend of the surrealists. The third owner, E.L.T. Mesens, was the well-known Belgian surrealist. AC
Camille Goemans; René Gaffé; Édouard-Léon-Théodore Mesens; Roland Penrose; given as a wedding present to Mr and Mrs Thompson (in 1978-1979); Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris; acquired in 1998.