European Art

René Magritte’s Art Deco Sheet Music Covers

Zuzanna Stańska 21 November 2022 min Read

You probably associate Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte with weird, surreal pieces, like his famous Treachery of Images. He also liked apples, clouds, human figures in strange environments, and bowler hats. But did you know that young Magritte made a living by working as a draughtsman at a wallpaper factory and designing Art Deco graphics?

Among them are approximately 40 sheet music covers he produced in the 1920s. Magritte’s Art Deco graphics are colorful, joyous, and not as Surrealist as his later works. They present the society of the Roaring Twenties, participating in common activities such as dancing, singing, and visiting music clubs.

art deco "Un Rien … (Nothing)," sheet music cover (1925), Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels
René Magritte, Un Rien (Nothing), 1925, Éditions Musicales de l’Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.
art deco René Magritte, "Arlita / Chanson Lumineuse," c. 1925
René Magritte, Arlita, c. 1925. The Marginalian.
René Magritte, Le Tango des Aveux, 1926, Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.
René Magritte, Le Tango des Aveux, 1926, Éditions Musicales de l’Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.
René Magritte, Nuits D'Adie/Fox - Trot. Sheet music cover, 1925, Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.
René Magritte, Nuits D’Adie/Fox – Trot, sheet music cover, 1925, Éditions Musicales de l’Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.
René Magritte, Mes Rêves, 1926, Éditions Musicales de l'Art Belge, Brussels.
René Magritte, Mes Rêves, 1926, Éditions Musicales de l’Art Belge, Brussels, Belgium.

How did you like these examples of Magritte’s Art Deco music sheet covers? I find it fascinating to see what artists did before establishing their iconic styles. We can see the evolution of their works and how they changed as creators over the years.

Magritte became a member of the Surrealist group only after 1927, and he was already 29 years old by then! He joined André Breton and his friends in Paris and participated in different exhibitions they organized. He finally found his vocation, away from commercial work. He could immerse himself in creating the kind of art he wanted.

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