On the mirrors, underpants (and a bit on Magritte)

This particular posting has no big value as a part of my art-mirrors saga, and is written in a pure blogging, WYSIWYG style; actually, I would love to write more postings of this sort here, and not only ‘big & serious’ stories.
This year on the Christmas Eve we went down to our nice Dutch friends, who happen to have a good library, including a lot of books on art. I spotted one edition on the shelves that belongs, I thought, to coffee- table book type); it wasn’t one book, but a set of five books about five modern painters, compiled in one box. You can see it on the shelf half-empty now, the box still has the Van Gogh and Matisse, and Picasso and Dali  on other shelf (and I’m holding in my hands the one about Magritte).  A classic set about “everything you wanted to know about the art of the 20th century, but forgot that you did.”

As it turned out, I was wrong with my sarcasm about ‘coffee-table’-ness of this edition, it was a very interesting set indeed. It was published (already ten years ago) by the Belgian publishing house Ludion (that in general produces very good books about art, including brilliant typographic quality.) These five volumes, despite being not large in terms of size, had a huge amount of works in them, about 500 in each (!) These are  by no means the “complete series” (i.e., these are not catalogues raisonné), but still a way more than the usual compilations with few ‘best pictures’.   Plus, all these works in these books were pretty accurately described

I have started flipping the one about Magritte, and soon also started to take the pictures of the works with “mirrors”.  I wrote my own piece about Magritte not so long ago, and so I inevitably start comparing ‘my’ works with those presented in the book.

The majority of the works made a ‘perfect match’ – they were both in my posting, and in this book. I found a few works by Magreitte with mirrors that I write about, but they are not mentioned in this book (I mark them with a red blob in the ‘Ludion’ part.  There is one work (Dangerous Liaisons) that the attributes to another period than the one I found; ok, that can happen, need to check the sources.

What was surprising upsetting mobilising is that that I found quite a few “red” works, that is, the ones with the mirrors that was unaware of.  Of course it is difficult to imagine that I could immediately uncover all the ‘mirror’ works of any painter in one swoop, so to speak,  whether it’s Magritte or anyone else.

What was definitely very pleasant to experience is that these new mirrors didn’t change the overall logic of my story about the story about Magritte’s mirrors.

On the other hand, I was unable to dodge a few sad thoughts too. Very often I spent a lot of efforts to simply collect the ‘mirror works’ of any particular painter, and then have too little time to reflect on what I’ve collected, and to write a story. What if I’d have these notorious catalogue raisonné, for each artist whom I am writing about here? And my job would basically consist merely of picking up some subset of the work, and quickly describing them?

And wouldn’t it be a pointless collection of the underpants in this case (without any profit?)

And then, of course, a sneaking suspicion that everything here is just that.


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