Magritte: A Life

Charles Darwent at Literary Review:

The instant recognisability of Magritte’s work has its roots not in his training at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1916 to 1918 but in his postwar work as a draughtsman in the city from 1922 to 1926. During this time he made artworks for advertising companies and designed wallpaper and posters. The skills garnered from the first two of these are immediately evident in Golconda, now in the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. The bowler-hatted men, part Thomson and Thompson, part Gilbert and George, are as obviously Magritte’s logo as the part-eaten apple is that of a certain American computer giant. His eye for pattern was also acute. Golconda would make lovely wallpaper, and no doubt has.

The Menil’s Golconda is an anomaly in being unique, hand-made and identifiable – an autograph work. It is the millions of mass-printed posters of the picture that are arguably the real Golconda, banal and yet everywhere, like the little grey men they depict.

more here.