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Le mal de mer (Seasickness)

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1947-48

Artist:

René Magritte
Belgian, 1898–1967

About this artwork

In the spring of 1948, René Magritte debuted an astonishing body of work, including the painting seen here, in which he set out to challenge the notion of artistic sincerity. Radiantly expressive and looking nothing like his paintings of the previous two decades, this new style—termed his période vache, or “nasty style”—used lurid colors and crude paint handling to convey the ongoing unease of Europe after the Second World War.

Seasickness, arguably the most iconic painting from this moment, has no nautical elements. Yet the title is paid off by a garish sport coat and slab of ham sweltering in the sun that were intended to make viewers feel mild visual nausea. As Magritte explained at the time: “I live in a very unpleasant world … that’s why my painting is a battle, or rather a counteroffensive.”

Status

On View, Gallery 396

Department

Modern Art

Artist

René Magritte

Title

Le mal de mer (Seasickness)

Origin

Belgium

Date

1947–1948

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

54 x 65 cm (21 1/4 x 25 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

The Lacy Armour, Eloise W. Martin Legacy, and Kate S. Buckingham endowment funds

Reference Number

2020.327

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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