René François Ghislain Magritte (1898–1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. His work challenges observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality. His earliest paintings, which date from about 1915, were Impressionistic. The paintings he produced between 1918 and 1924 are influenced by Futurism and by a form of Cubism practised by Metzinger. He produced his first surreal painting in 1926, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu). His first exhibition was held in Brussels in 1927 but was panned by critics. He moved to Paris, where he became friends with Andre Breton and was involved in the surrealist group.
He returned to Brussels in 1930 and resumed work in advertising, forming an agency with his brother Paul. He remained in Brussels during the German occupation of WW2. In 1946 he renounced the violence and pessimism of his earlier work, and joined several other Belgian artists in signing the manifesto Surrealism in Full Sunlight. His work was first exhibited in New York in 1936.
Popular interest in Magritte's work revived in the 1960s, and his imagery has influenced pop, minimalist and conceptual art.