Rene Magritte 2


La Reproduction Interdite
(Not to be Reproduced), 1937, is a Magritte painting where a man, his back turned to us, is seen facing a mirror. But instead of seeing the reflection of his face, the man and the viewer can only see his back again, but the book is reflected correctly.

This painting was commissioned by poet and Magritte patron Edward James and is considered a portrait of James - although James's face is not depicted. This painting was one of three produced by Magritte for the ballroom of James's London home. The other two are The Red Model (1937) and  Time Transfixed  (1938).

The book on the mantel is a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (written here in French as Les aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym). The story starts out in a conventional first-person narrative of an exploration at sea but then descends into mutiny, cannibalism, savagery, and overwhelming ambiguity.  Poe was one of Magritte's favorite authors and he made other references to the author in his work. For example, the title of the painting The Domain of Arnheim (1938) below was taken from the Poe short story of the same name.

Magritte painted another portrait of Edward James titled  The Pleasure Principle (1937) below. It depicts James from the front, but his face is obscured by a bright flash.