Missing for 85 Years, Last Piece of Lost Painting Found

René Magritte cut up 'The Enchanted Pose,' painted over it
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2017 5:51 PM CST
'Great Adventure' Ends as Last Piece of Lost Painting Is Found
The final missing piece of Rene Magritte's "The Enchanted Pose," seen here in a 1927 photograph, has been discovered hidden underneath another painting in a Brussels museum.   (Rene Magritte)

"It is the end of a great adventure," says Samir Al-Haddad at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Belgian researchers say they've found the fourth and final piece of a surrealist master's missing work, ending a search that's lasted more than 80 years, NPR reports. According to the BBC, The Enchanted Pose by René Magritte was exhibited in 1927 but disappeared in 1932. The only evidence it ever existed was a black-and-white photo from the original exhibition catalog. The surrealist painter died in 1967 without ever saying what happened to the painting, but experts believe he cut it up to reuse the canvas. “It was the late '20s or early '30s so he was coming back from Paris with no money at all. He was really recycling his old paintings, the ones that he felt not so confident or happy with," David Strivay, director of the University of Liège in Belgium, tells Euronews.

Then in 2013, 81 years after The Enchanted Pose was last seen, researchers using X-ray imaging found one-fourth of it underneath another Magritte work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Other quarters of the painting, which depicts two nude women standing next to columns, were found in museums in Sweden and England. Now, the final piece—the upper right corner—has been located under Magritte's God Is Not a Saint in Brussels. "Little by little the puzzle has been completed," says the art curator at the English museum where the third piece was found. The Enchanted Pose will likely never be physically reunited as it would require the destruction of four other paintings, but Reuters reports it has been "virtually restored" at Brussels' Magritte Museum. Atlas Obscura reports there is a larger ongoing effort to find more potentially lost and hidden Magritte works. (There's a dead body hiding in an 1889 Van Gogh.)

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