Surrealism, the history of a great art movement

Lothar Wolleh

Lothar Wolleh, german photographer whose work is largely influenced by the second world war, has dedicated a part of his work to René Magritte portraits, renowned surrealist painter.

Lothar Wolleh
René Magritte portrait by artist Lothar Wolleh

Wolleh (1930-1979) experienced a tumultuous early life; wrongly accused of espionage by the Russians, who then occupy his native Germany, he was sentenced to spend 15 years in a Siberian prison. Following the release of hostages and prisoners of war, Wolleh studies photography and dedicates, on the one hand, to portraiture, and on the other, to photography books in color. He dies in 1979 in London. Throughout his career, he will have done the portrait of 109 artists, including César Domela, Man Ray, Daniel Spoerri, Niki de Saint Phalle and, of course, René Magritte.

Series of photography by Wolleh

Lothar Wolleh

In 1967, Lothar Wolleh releases a series of photographs that show as subject the surrealists Magritte and his wife, Georgette, in their home in Brussels. These pictures are taken and developed only a few months before the death of Magritte, and many of them are destined to make history.

This is the case, for example, of the famous portrait against the light, where a René Magritte, cigarette in mouth, appears in black on blue, laughing in the subdued atmosphere of what we guess to be his living room. Another famous portrait taken at the same time shows the surrealist next to one of his paintings: Magritte is there dressed in the same way as the man in this painting, completely in black with a white shirt, only, unlike the subject of the work, she does not wear the bowler hat ... and the work has no head. Georgette Magritte is also immortalized in front of a work of her husband, dressed in Sunday clothes, sunglasses over her eyes. Lothar Wolleh finally takes several close-ups of the hands of Magritte, one where the artist has a brush, the other where he points one of his works, probably during technical explanations.

Famous shot of the photographer

The picture, named “Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war”, translated, purely by its title, a breath of liberation, social peace and spirit of simple happiness. It is opposite to a second photograph, probably taken on the same day, black and white, which is named “René and Georgette Magritte with their dog during the war"; the word game during-after, linked to a game of colors, Wolleh manages to create two shots the antipodes of one another, centered around a theme dear to him, World War II.

Moreover, René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war will also inspire a song to folk musician Paul Simon, on his first solo album. The song, playful, will be described as a tribute to the work and spirit of Magritte.

Quote by René Magritte

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
See more quote by René Magritte

Dali book
© All reproduction is strictly prohibited