La Voix des airs (The Voice of Space)

René Magritte1928

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Buffalo, New York, United States

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.”


  • Title: La Voix des airs (The Voice of Space)
  • Creator: René Magritte
  • Date Created: 1928
  • Physical Dimensions: 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)
  • Contributor: Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Albert H. Tracy Fund, by exchange, and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 1976 (1976:13)
  • Rights: © Estate of René Magritte / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • External Link: More information about the artwork is available here.
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Image Information: Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
  • Artist's Nationality: Belgian
  • Artist's Death Year: 1967
  • Artist's Birth Year: 1898

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