Hidden Belgium: Magritte’s house

Hidden Belgium: Magritte’s house

The Surrealist artist René Magritte lived for 24 years in a modest apartment in Brussels, along with his wife Georgette and a fluffy Pomeranian dog. The artist’s former home, where he painted more than half his works, is now a fascinating little museum.

It lies in a quiet Brussels street where you would imagine nothing ever happens. But then you notice a small black nameplate marked Magritte and a solitary street lamp on the pavement copied from Magritte’s painting The Empire of Light.

Magritte and Georgette moved here in 1930, soon after they returned from an unsuccessful period in Paris. It is furnished with department store antiques, comfortable sofas and a baby grand piano.

Magritte worked in the tiny kitchen at the back of the house, painting at an easel he had to move aside when Georgette served dinner.

Several details in the house are familiar from some of Magritte’s best-known works. His painting The Forbidden Reading includes the very staircase you see in the hallway. Another work called Time Transfixed, in which a steam locomotive emerges from a fireplace, includes a fireplace like the one in the couple’s front room.

When you enter Magritte’s house, it is almost like entering his paintings.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.


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