Museum Folkwang
Le noctambule (Le Réverbère)
  • René François Ghislain Magritte
  • Le noctambule (Le Réverbère), 1927/28

  • The Night Owl
  • Oil on canvas
  • 55 x 74 cm
  • Acquired in 1977 with the support of the Frau Otto Knaudt-Stiftung and the Stiftung Kunst und Kultur of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Inv. G 420
  • CommentaryIn Magritte’s iconography, the categories humans use to order their experiences lose their unambiguousness. Dream and reality, inner and outer, living or not exchange their characteristics and merge together.
    With his very exact painting style, the Belgian artist produced surrealist images of striking accessibility from the mid-1920’s.
    A sleepwalker – the exact translation of the original title – is traversing an empty room furnished with bourgeois fittings by the light of a streetlamp. The scene’s outrageousness becomes quite factual, seemingly presented without emotion or sense of adventure; an impression strengthened by the figure’s being well-dressed.
    The paintings iconography produces no anecdote – the nightmare remains inexplicable. Paradoxically, the light of the streetlight, which normally aids pedestrians in finding their way, illuminates a scene that confuses. In the tradition of the Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel, Magritte demonstrates to the viewer, with modern scepticism, that he can trust neither his eyes nor his ideas.
  • ProvenanceBertaulle, Brüssel
    P. G. van Hecke, Brüssel
    1977, Galerie Michael Hertz, Bremen
  • Obj_Id: 3,384
  • Obj_Internet_S: ja
  • Obj_Ownership_S (Verantw):Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Obj_SpareNField01_N (Verantw): 187
  • Obj_Creditline_S: Gemäldesammlung
  • Obj_Title1_S: Le noctambule (Le Réverbère)
  • Obj_Title2_S: The Night Owl
  • Obj_PartDescription_S (Titelerg):
  • Obj_SpareMField01_M (Alle Titel): Le noctambule (Le Réverbère) The Night Owl Le noctambule (Le Réverbère) Der Nachtschwärmer
  • Obj_Dating_S: 1927/28
  • Jahr von: 1,927
  • Jahr bis: 1,928
  • Obj_IdentNr_S: G 420
  • Obj_IdentNrSort_S: G 0420
  • Obj_Classification_S (Objtyp): Painting
  • Obj_Crate_S: 55 x 74 cm
  • Obj_Material_S: Oil on canvas
  • Obj_Technique_S:
  • Obj_SpareSField01_S (Mat./Tech.): Oil on canvas
  • Obj_AccNote_S (Erwerb): Acquired in 1977 with the support of the Frau Otto Knaudt-Stiftung and the Stiftung Kunst und Kultur of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Obj_PermanentLocation_S (Standort):
  • Obj_Condition1_S (Druckerei):
  • Obj_Condition2_S (Auflage):
  • Obj_Subtype_S (Genre):
  • Obj_Rights_S: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Commentary
Artists
Provenance

In Magritte’s iconography, the categories humans use to order their experiences lose their unambiguousness. Dream and reality, inner and outer, living or not exchange their characteristics and merge together.
With his very exact painting style, the Belgian artist produced surrealist images of striking accessibility from the mid-1920’s.
A sleepwalker – the exact translation of the original title – is traversing an empty room furnished with bourgeois fittings by the light of a streetlamp. The scene’s outrageousness becomes quite factual, seemingly presented without emotion or sense of adventure; an impression strengthened by the figure’s being well-dressed.
The paintings iconography produces no anecdote – the nightmare remains inexplicable. Paradoxically, the light of the streetlight, which normally aids pedestrians in finding their way, illuminates a scene that confuses. In the tradition of the Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel, Magritte demonstrates to the viewer, with modern scepticism, that he can trust neither his eyes nor his ideas.