The first major biography for our time, from the celebrated biographer of Cézanne
René Magritte's surreal sensibility, deadpan melodrama, and fine-tuned outrageousness have all become inescapably part of our times. But these groundbreaking subversions all came from a middle-class Belgian gent, who kept a modest house in a Brussels suburb and whose first one-man show sold absolutely nothing.
Through a deep examination of Magritte's friendships and his artistic development, Alex Danchev explores the path of an highly unconventional artist who posed profound questions about the relationship between image and reality, challenged the very nature of authenticity and whose influence can be seen in the work of everyone from Jasper Johns to Beyoncé.
Diligent and insightful ... Danchev proved an indefatigable researcher, and Sarah Whitfield does full justice to his labours -- Tim Adams ― Observer
The first significant biography of the artist -- Michael Prodger, 'Best art books of 2021' ― The Times
Offers enthralling insight into the man behind the easel -- Susan Swarbrick and Teddy Jamieson, 'The 50 best books to give this Christmas' ― Herald
Absorbing, masterful ... there are no lapses in this lively biography ... Magritte: A Life recounts the artist's life in a sympathetic and comprehensive manner, never reducing the mystery of one of the most influential of modern artists -- Alexander Adams ― Art Newspaper
[A] monumental biography of the inimitable surrealist artist ... sure to be the definitive account of the extraordinary artist's life ― Publishers Weekly
This is a fine book, and Whitfield's tenth chapter, covering the last twenty years of its subject's life, does Danchev's efforts full justice ... for those who love Magritte and those who do not, Danchev's biography will come as a revelation -- Charles Darwent ― Literary Review
Alex Danchev was Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. His books Cézanne: A Life (2012) won the Apollo Book of the Year Award in 2013, jointly with his translation of The Letters of Paul Cézanne (2013). He was also the author of a number of other internationally acclaimed biographies, and two influential collections of essays, On Art and War and Terror (2009) and On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone (2015); and editor of the best-selling 100 Artists' Manifestos (2011).