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The Six Elements
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The Six Elements

René Magritte, Belgian, 1898 - 1967

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Oil on canvas

28 3/4 x 39 5/16 inches (73 x 99.9 cm) Framed: 35 7/16 × 45 13/16 × 3 11/16 inches (90 × 116.4 × 9.4 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 269, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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Magritte's title calls to mind the basic elements of the universe---air, water, fire, and earth---although the connection between these and the images in the painting remains mysterious. Painted at the end of a three-year stay in Paris, during which Magritte became a full-fledged Surrealist, The Six Elements exemplifies the artist's ability to lure viewers into questioning the relationship between language and image, the rational and the irrational.


André Breton (1896-1966), Paris; sold to Louise and Walter C. Arensberg, Los Angeles, through Marcel Duchamp as agent, 1937 [1]; gift to PMA, 1950. 1. See Duchamp's provenance notes date September 8, 1951 (PMA, Arensberg Archives).

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.