I have never laid eyes on René Magritte.

I may be mistaken, but it has always been my impression that he didn’t have much of a sense of humour. Was he suffering from great loneliness or inner coldness? I am not particularly outgoing myself, but I see something unwelcoming, or at least something that’s foreign to me, both in his character and in his paintings.

To make myself clearer: I perceive the noble, tragic helplessness of his atheism. He has perhaps achieved the best (and I am saying "perhaps" only because I don't want to presume to pass a definite judgment) that was achievable with the "classical Surrealism" of the time.

His derailments, I am thinking primarily (but not only) of his "impressionist phase", show the tragedy of the trailblazer who is bound to get lost.

Artists, however, have a right to be judged by their best works.

Anyone who wants to paint and at first, of course, does not yet know how, is fascinated by models and will attempt to imitate them. He should, however, not identify with the model of the moment, but set out on a different path early on, for we each have our own inner lives, our own beyonds, and that alone belongs to us.

No surrealist can copy from another; whatever he paints will necessarily become something heretofore unknown, or even something incomprehensible. Whether or not that is then called Surrealism is irrelevant.

You are asking me to what extent René Magritte has influenced my work.

Well, I looked at this paintings and thought about them. A few times I consciously quoted and even elaborated on some of his themes. I did something similar with Michelangelo and Titian, out of veneration so to speak. And a few things may have sneaked in out of laziness or from the subconscious.
But not every apple has been stolen somewhere.

(Text: Wolfgang Lettl)


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