My younger daughter and Magritte

Someone asked after reading about B and the king if I ever write blog posts about U, our other daughter. Well, I do sometimes; and in fact she and I had our own cultural excursion last weekend, when I had the sudden impulse to visit the Magritte Museum in central Brussels. I admit that I am not a massive Magritte fan, but it’s one of those things that as a Belgian citizen working in the capital I feel I ought to have done.

It’s interesting enough. Some of his best known works are elsewhere, of course. I missed my chance to see The Treachery of Images in Los Angeles earlier this year. The Son of Man is in a private collection. Golconda is in Houston. A dozen are in MOMA in New York.

But the Brussels museum does put him in context, and in particular you appreciate how important his wife Georgette Berger was to him. It’s also interesting to see the commercial art that he produced – and one can sense the frustration that drove him to surrealism.

One of the advantages of taking U is that she gets in at a substantial discount, and I get in at a similar discount as her companion. She gets a brisk walk looking at confusing but stimulating things, and I don’t feel I have to spend ages in every room because she doesn’t feel I should spend too long in any room either. But she did gracefully pose for me at a couple of pictures.

U enjoying “Ceci continue de ne pas être une pipe“, a drawing from 1952
which is obviously a sequel to “The Treachery of Images” (1930)
U, the green Android and “The Unexpected Answer” (1932), probably the best known in the collection.

Having tolerated me snapping her in front of those two, in the next room she spotted one that she really liked and stood beside it waiting for me to photograph her and the Android. When we got home she insisted on looking at the picture I had taken. What was going through her mind? Did the two masked men and the candlestick with three female heads resonate for her somehow? Anyway, here she is with Magritte’s Intelligence (1954).

I bought her a mug with Magritte’s clouds on, and we went home.