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La Voix des airs (The Voice of Space)

© Estate of René Magritte / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / SODRAC, Montreal

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René Magritte

Belgian, 1898-1967

La Voix des airs (The Voice of Space), 1928

oil on canvas

support: 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches (64.77 x 49.53 cm); framed: 33 x 27 x 3 inches (83.82 x 68.58 x 7.62 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Albert H. Tracy Fund, by exchange, and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 1976


Currently On View

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signature / front, bottom left / Magritte


Private collection, Paris;
sold to the Museum of Modern Art, 1936;
to Olivier Bernier, by January 7, 1976;
consigned to James Goodman Gallery by May 1976;
sold to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, September 27, 1976


Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Oil painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Surrealist René Magritte is best known for creating unusual compositions that are wonderfully strange in their illustrative simplicity. The imagery in “The Voice of Space” is reminiscent of the region of Belgium where Magritte grew up—the Pays Noir (Black Country). The painting’s backdrop references the slopes of iron slag that dotted the landscape, and the sky above the area was often gray. The floating forms were inspired by the bells hung on horses’ collars, the sound of which Magritte remembered reverberating through the night air over great distances. Slits in the spheres reflect the artist’s obsession with concealment and the mystery of human experience, which, for him, could not be fully explained. Magritte described his paintings as “visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery, and indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ’What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable.”
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