Les intermittences du coeur (1950)

Magritte, René (1898-1967)

Les intermittences du coeur (The Fickleness of the Heart)
Oil on canvas, 81.3 x 63.5 cm
Wadsworth AtheneumHartford

The Belgian Surrealist Magritte developed a set of symbols that he used in new combinations throughout his career. The bloodied white bust first appeared in a painting of 1942 entitled “Memory”. It also included a ball, a wooden wall, and a cloud-filled sky. Magritte adds a haunting tree to this strange space, its branches casting a shadow against the wall. The original French title was borrowed from Marcel Proust by the painter’s friend and writer, Paul Nougé, who also provided the following poetic interpretation:
As walls recede, as daylight recedes, as palpable shadows recede, as the music of the branches and of inevitable mental tracery recedes, as youth recedes, our memory bleeds and smiles. (WA)