Our exhibition, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle is now open at Tate Liverpool.

Here you can see over 100 paintings alongside drawings, collages, examples of Magritte’s commercial designs, as well as rarely seen photographs and films. The exhibition will include iconic paintings by the artist including Golconda (1953) and The Pleasure Principle (1937) as well as some more surprising works, offering visitors a fresh insight into the intriguing world of Magritte.

Magritte Tell us what you think Press
Darren and Christoph, curators of René Magritte introducing journalists to the exhibition
Magritte Tell us what you think Pleasure Principle
René Magritte, The Pleasure Principle 1937, on display at Tate Liverpool

We are enormously excited about this exhibition and encourage you to post your comments and messages about René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle here on the Tate blog.  I look forward to reading them.

Darren Pih, co-curator René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle


John G Skinner

Certainly Magritte produced some memorable images. He was visually v intelligent and technically highly accomplished- a few of the best works transcend criticism. Yet as I moved from room to room in the subdued light, with images placed against muted, tonal low key, coloured walls, I felt strongly what a joyless experience, overall, his work conveyed to me. He used colour without excitement or delight, & paint -the material, as if it was a neutered plastic-without pleasure. It seemed a clever, intellectual game that he played for his own amusement, without feeling or passion.


I took my 7 year old to Liverpool on the train from London. A day trip - to see this exhibition. Both of us thought it was a fantastic exhibition. I liked the sheer volume of work and the logic of the displays and that it wasn't crowded at all. My daughter liked spotting Magritte's 'tricks' and we talked about the code he used with pictures. Highly recommend.

W Myers

Thank you for a very good exhibition. A fine selection of Magritte's work, including some vache and Renoir period, commercial art, photos and films. A number of iconic and beautiful classic Magrittes. A painter who makes you look and think about reality and mystery.A consistently excellent artist I think (unlike Dali). Hope to see the exhibition again in the Autumn

Anne and Bill

Really enjoyed the Magritte exhibition. Didn't know much about his work beforehand so not sure what to expect. Loved "This is not a pipe". We have a pipe stand at home and a postcard of this painting is now balanced amongst the pipes!

Gareth Buchanan

We loved this exhibition. Day-tripped from Stoke to see it. I agree with previous comments about the themed rooms working well. There really was a lot to see. I liked the photos and films from Magritte's life, sometimes those parts of exhibits try to cram loads of stuff into them, but they were a good break from the main paintings. I only really knew the bowler hat (son of man) before coming to the exhibit - from the remake of Thomas Crown affair. I was disappointed not to see that one, but there were soooooooooo many other good ones - epsecially the luminar ones, which were very well presented.

Maggie Schofield

My friend and I visited the Magritte Exhibition yesterday and we both felt that it was extremely hard work and somewhat impenetrable. We would both have welcomed audio guides if these had been available. My understanding of the works of Magritte was only marginally enhanced by this exhibition, which I suppose behoves me to find out more for myself. It would be interesting to know why the technique in some of the paintings was so crude when he was clearly a most competent artist. I am thinking in particular of the galloping horse in Lost Jockey rather than in the 'comic strip' style paintings, which I did find understandable. Similarly the Vache Period paintings were brilliant and redolent of an artisit cocking two fingers at a movement with which he had issues. An explanation of the naming of some of the works would have been most helpful. Sorry but the views from the windows of a storm lashed Liverpool were more interesting that most of the exhibited works.

W Myers

One other thing - the day I went was stormy and sunny, Magritte clouds in the sky, and looking out the windows at the sea, the lamposts beside the Mersey, it was like nature imitating art.

P M Greaves

Brilliant show - been twice and due to visit again - I'm very popular at the moment (something to do with my Tate card!) Having been to the house in Brussels, and various internal galleries I thought I knew a fair bit about Magritte - but this exhibition with the posters and photos give a fully 'rounded' perspective. (I didn't much care for some of the coloured drawings in one area of the large room - I'm sure he never meant these doodles to be exhibited). Well done on the show, hope people going to the new Museum of Liverpool stride over the dock to visit.


Dear Tom, Thanks very much for finding the time to post this comment. It's genuinely appreciated - I'm glad you enjoyed the exhibition. Best, Darren.

Nick Looker

"I know what I like", but I wouldn't describe myself as having a great understanding on 20th century art. I loved the exhibition, but in particular, I found the hanging, together with the accompanying expositions enabled me to "get it" in a way that I have rarely been able to before. I thought the accompanying book, A to Z of Magritte, was great, far better than most books to accompany an exhibition, and is a great work of reference for the future.

Michael Hinds

We absolutely loved the exhibition. The progression through the different rooms and themes was very well thought out. I haven't seen a lot of this work before so well done to the curators. I was also fascinated by Magritte's photographs, letters and home made films. The person I was with is an optometrist and enjoyed, 'the way he plays with our visual perception.'

Great show. Many thanks.

Mark Thomas

I am more entusiast than expert but always attend Tate Liverpool's big exhibitions. This, for me, was second only to the fantastic Dali exhibitions of a few years ago. The themed room format was pleasing, though I think I prefer a chronological format, as you do feel the development of the artist. The volume of the works on display was very impressive, so credit to the exhibition team for their obvious hard work in procuring them all. Many of Magritte's more well known works are there as well. Overall, a fantastic exhibition, which left me eagerly awaiting the next... I suggest Max Ernst or Damien Hirst. :-) If I had one complaint, it would be (as Martin said above), the lighting. Some were lit beautifully but on a few pieces, I felt the lighting was too low. Hopefully, I am being constructive here. The catalogue A-Z and the Taschen Magritte book are superb and great souvenirs of the day. Thanks.

John Hilton

Visited the exhibition again yesterday, still very enjoyable. I discussed the question of framing with one of the guards, now that I know how restrictive the release of the paintings is within the rules protecting the paintings from damage, the exhibition took on a new conflict in my mind. With surrealism being a freedom for the artist's creative and spiritual expression, the framing and protective screens looked now in my mind to be straightjackets confining each work. Words influencing perception.


I travelled from London especially to see 'Magritte', one of my favourite surrealist painters. I enjoyed the exhibition thoroughly, the content and arrangement: The 'classics' as well as his commercial work - posters/graphics which I have not seen before. The personal photos and the films made me appreciate what fun person Magritte was. Thank you for the enjoyable experience.

David Platt

Although I'm a Tate member, this was my first time at Tate Liverpool. I was on a visit to my family in Lancashire.

The Magritte exhibition was good, and I ended up staying in the gallery much longer that I'd planned. I, too, had little knowledge of his commercial work. It was all fascinating - seeing this and photos alongside those paintings which are so famous.

Like a previous commentator, I was greatly amused by the 'secrecy' of the erotic pictures hidden behind a black curtain. As someone who has worked with victims of physical violence and torture this prurience (although by no means unusual) continues to amaze / depress me.

Why did it take me so long to check out Tate Liverpool?


One of the most interesting and pleasurable exhibitions I have ever been to. The iconic work of Magritte is well known, but seeing it in the context of his development made me understand, appreciate and enjoy the depth of his insight to human psyche. Could it be shown also in London? It might bring more crowds and less pleasure, but i would not have to endure 6 hours of travel, and I would be able to drag a teenager or two with me.

julles hatton

Better than expected and even more. Magritte is an echo in my heart. The whole day was magic as the sky was 'the curse' truly. He was a star and some of his work is so disturbing, some entertaining, and overall stunning. Am still stunned!! Am raving to everyone, and it's my best day out for ages. Thank you so much. It's about time that we get better exhibitions than in the south!!

A.J. in the USA

Like some other posters, I came up from London specially for this exhibit--but I actually planned my brithday vacation from the States specifically around the Magritte show and timed my European travel for it (and the Miro at the Tate London). I have studied Magritte since high school in the 60's, have almost every book written about him or including his work, and have seen much of his art over the past 40+ years in many museums and various countries. I was DELIGHTED by this presentation and particularly by the inclusion of the large number of works that are held in private collections, which I had never seen either in books or in person. That was a rare treat. I also appreciated the thought put into the staging and grouping of the works, including his commercial work, the films, photos and letters, etc.--it was quite creatively curated.

There were one or two places in which accessing the the work was awkward (one of the intriguing painted bottles was tucked in a corner, requiring a wait to get close and caused the viewer to block others) and while I'm thrilled so many young people/students attended on the day of my visit, allowing them to sit on the floor drawing from the original works made it a struggle to see a number of the paintings--there was a large class of students and the entire time of my visit many were sitting on the floor, literally crowded in front of numerous works in groups. Don't know the answer to that but perhaps scheduling them for select times might be a better idea as it impeded viewing the works in the order you intended. I agree lighting was a bit difficult in some spaces and yes, at this show I would have loved an audio tour. But it was an exciting exhibit and I truly enjoyed my first visit to Liverpool and the Tate there. Thank you for a wonderful experience!


Does the exhibition include Empire of Lights? I'd travel nearly anywhere to finally see that.

Sandra Wagner

The exhibition was fascinating and wonderfully brought to life by Lee Kennedy your tour guide, whose insights and explanations were insightful and really helpful. Thankyou


My first visit to Liverpool was prompted by the exhibition. Loved the gallery - its feel, layout - and thought the exhibition was terrific. Liked the themed approach a lot and liked the leisurely feel - definitely plenty of space and time to browse, go back to pictures you wanted to see again. All staff knowledgeable and ready to help. Would come again.


I spent 10 hours on a bus to Liverpool from London to see Magritte's exhibition at Tate Liverpool. I am a true fan of his inventiveness and poetry. His work has a sense of anxiety and suffocation but still, absolutely magical. Such result is achieved by frequently placing objects in unusual contexts and over-sized ones in small spaces. Every technique he decided to use was executed to perfection in every possible way. I had the opportunity to see some of his work before but visiting a whole exhibition dedicated to him has left me absolutely inspired. I was also pleased to see in the shop Donna Wilson's cloud shaped cushions which I used to assemble when I worked in her studio.


The third Magritte show I've been to and easily the best. The themed rooms were very helpful and it was evident that a great deal of thought and care had gone into the exhibition generally. A friend - an artist who has been very influenced by Magritte - and I came up from London specially for the show and were very glad we had taken the trouble.

Martin Jameson

I thought this was a terrific exhibition - a real return to form for Tate Liverpool after the disappointments of the Klimt and Picasso exhibitions. We really got a lot of bang for our membership buck. I really liked the way it was curated - by theme and concept. I went in, perhaps a bit lukewarm about Magritte and came out an enthusiast.

If I had a criticism at all it was the lack of audio guide. I know people are very divided about audio guides, and if you don't like them, fine. But some of us do - and a good audio guide helps you to focus on the paintings without intruding into your own emotional responses. In the case of Magritte, I really needed more context. I wanted to understand the world he was working in, his perspective and his reference points. WIthout this information available to those who wanted it, we found ourselves frequently frustrated. The audio guide at Tate Modern for the Miro collection is a fine example of how an audio guide can work to really inform an retrospective like this.

My other quibble is the lighting in Tate Liverpool. It's always a problem and it really needs sorting out. It's either painfully dim, or pictures under glass are placed opposite windows and ruined by extraneous reflections. You guys really need to pay more attention to this.

One final plea is that you show a little awareness to those of us - mainly over 40! - who have become a little long sighted in middle age. Some the photographs on display were tiny. There was no advance warning of this that I saw on any of the publicity so I didn't have my reading glasses with me. Basically, without enlargements to help, they were impossible for me to see. This actually prejudices against people with even relatively mild long sight like myself Tate Liverpool should know better! A little consideration in future please!

But generally a good show - cheers


Hilary Heath

Every Summer I come to Liverpool to celebrate my birthday with family and to visit the Summer exhibition at the tate. This year, as with Picaso and Klimpt in previous years, lived fully up to expectation. I have a small knowledge of Margritte and this did not impair my progression through the exhibition. I enjoyed the wit and challenge to perception, beautifully observed, also the sublime. Walking out into the sunshine on the Albert Dock, with blue sky and the odd dot of cumulus, brought Margritte into the very essence of the day. No floating men in bowler hats, just a space alien helium balloon. A lovely day


It was great to see such a high profile artist on show at Tate Liverpool. I thought the exhibition was very well curated and it really opened my eyes to Magritte's work. So he's not just about bowler hats and pipes. I think sometimes surrealism is written off as a novelty period of painting but this exhibition shows that Magritte's work, at least, has a real depth to it.


My introduction to Magritte - more than worth the visit from London!

As a history of art student I'm becoming more and more interested in artists of this period. they were pioneers in so many ways now too easy to forget while we surrounded by their innovations almost everyday and in so many ways.

Thank you!

Gill Oliver

We made a detour on our holiday route to take this in, but in Michelin terms in was a definite 'vaut le voyage'. Not much to add to appraisals above. Presentation admirably lucid. Loved the photography - a revealing dimension. And how welcome to enter into well-judged conversation with one of the gallery attendants - it was in no way intrusive,but simply grew from a comment on what we were looking at. I grew up in the Walker and thought this kind of engagement was normal until heading south in the seventies; it's good to see human connections are having something of a renaissance in other galleries now.


I am totally wowed and perarepd to take the next step now.

Roy Hutchings

I was involved in art education for all my working life and have used the work of Magritte for student research for many years. I thought that I was quite knowledgeable but this exhibition opened up many unknowns for me particularly in the graphics and photograph section. I was disappointed that Tate chose not to produce an audio guide this time. The Klimpt one and the Gauguin app in London were for example brilliant. I did download the iPhone Magritte app from iTunes and whilst the pictures were ok with many included in the Liverpool exhibition, there was no commentary and therefore lacking a wider contextual viewpoint.

Debi Corby

I have visited the Magritte exhibition twice. The first time I brought along my Mum (who is in her 70's) and she offered the most extraordinary insights into Magrittes work. Afterwards I watched the TV programme hosted by Tim Marlow. This was so interesting it prompted my second visit - when I could look at the works with a more informed 'eye'. I wasn't a particular fan of Magrittes work before - but this exhibition has helped me to appreciate him more and to love the work! Thank you Debi Corby

Ken Ward

An excellent exhibition, well laid out and includes some lesser-known works and not just the more well-known. Could have spent a whole day here, easily.

Tim Evans

Yes, I enjoyed it was amazed by the depth and breadth of the work. You done well - to assemble so many and curate it intelligently. I too, would have appreciated an audio link but I know how expensive they are. I will return for more with friends. Surrealy, I went for a pint at the Baltic where they have a sign which reads"This is not a pipe - it is a notice; no smoking please". I enjoyed telling them I had just seen the original!

Mark Payne

One of the best exhibitions held by the Tate for quite a while, and a bonus that it's in Liverpool!

There's no padding - it's just 100% Magritte. Some iconic pictures - but it's a pity they couldn't get the apple under the bowler hat.

I went erly on Sunday morning and there was hardly anyone there. An absolute pleasure!


I would like to echo many of the comments above with regards to how much I enjoyed the exhibition.

However, I have one specific, if perhaps minor criticism to make (which should not be taken as mitigating in any way my enjoyment of and appreciation for this exhibition and the work done in bringing it together). The illustrations for Georges Bataille's 'Madame Edwarda' are accompanied by a description referring to Bataille as a 'Surrealist philosopher'. To the best of my knowledge this is simply false. If the polemic against Bataille by Breton in the Second Surrealist Manifesto does not adequately attest to the fundamental rift between Bataille and surrealism, this quote from Michel Surya's biography of Bataille would surely suffice:

'Did Bataille ever end his hostility to surrealism? It has to be doubted. For at least ten years (from 1925 to 1935), it was at the heart of most of his statements and was sustained by polemics that were constantly renewed, each time more violently.'

This aside, I congratulate you on an excellent achievement in bringing these works together.

Margaret Cranch

I found the water colour exhibition well set out & very informative. Recently became a member & took a friend who attends Water Colour classes with me & she also enjoyed our visit so much we will be going again to take in more information.

Barry Jones

A wonderful exhibition, plenty to see, and a fantastic collection of works. I'm Liverpool based, but do travel to London for exhibitions, and I can confidently say that it would be worth the trip from London. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed.

Frank Monaghan

I really enjoyed the exhibition and good to see the gallerynbuzzing but not too full you couldn't enjoy it.

I was particularly interested by the sample of Magritte's writing on the relationship between objects, images and languages and had an interesting time tracking it through the painitings.

I especially liked the Fantomas painting, which I hadn't seen before!

Thanks for a fun and stimulating exhibition,



I think it would be a good idea to spice up the office PC's with some great artwork instead of gray or black boxes.

Have a look http://www.hereortherepcrepair.co.uk


James Kay

I went to this exhibition as a Tate member but without having read any reviews. I expected to have the sort of unsettling experience that I had after viewing the Dali exhibition in the same place a little while ago.

With Dali I came away disturbed and feeling a bit voyeuristic - as though I had intruded on a private portrayal of anguish. It was almost as though I had been allowed to wander round a psychiatric ward and ogle the poor lost souls. I didn't really enjoy it but I did learn more about Dali and went away stimulated to do more study.

The Magritte was almost exactly the opposite. I went in expecting so much more emotional stimulation than I received. I came away thinking much less of Magritte and less interested in following up his art and interactions with the world that it had produced. The only engagement was cerebral and I came home to advise my wife not to bother going - his work was much more shallow than I had previously thought.

And then I read this blog and in particular one of your commentators about the Telegraph review. I then went to find the review and although I know a great deal less about Magritte than the reviewer I had experienced an almost identical reaction.

He said that Magritte in this exhibition was displayed as ... "Belgium's answer to Marcel Duchamp - a dry and witty intellectual whose visual jokes, games and conundrums were created with no more serious intention than to mess with our minds."

Yes, that is a precise summary of how I felt. If there is more to Magritte, then I didn't get it from this exhibition. Ultimately it was quite disappointing even though the art on display was very accomplished and sometimes familiar in its status as surrealistic icon.

Huw and Judy Jones

Like many, we took a day trip from London to see the exhibition and, in spite of a long delay on our return (incident at Crewe), we still had a glow of enjoyment as we got home after midnight. Many of our favourites were there, although there are still some we missed, but the hanging was generally very good and there were enough pieces new to us to make for a very enjoyable exhibition. We didn't like the 'Vache' period, but Magritte still makes us chuckle.

Anna Jones

I had never been to the Tate Liverpool before, so to see the Magritte exhibition was a treat in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing his vast array of artwork and came away impressed enough to start questioning my surroundings and the world around me - just as the artist intended. Thank you for putting on such a brilliant display and I look forward to hearing and hopefully attending more brilliant art exhibitions such as this.

Nick Read

Magritte combines virtuoso painting with a philosphical mind. He is a thinker, but he appreciates the distortions words make to thought and celebrates the the power of imagery to enlighten and stimulate. His images capture the idea and symbol and expand our perception.

I loved the exhibition. And it worked so well with Carol Ann Duiffy and the Piper series.


Ruth Allen

I loved this exhibition. it's what I have been waiting for and I was not disappointed at all. I was disappointed by the Tate Liverpool Gustav Klimt exhibition a couple of years ago,and as such was worried that this would not live up to the expectation I had. Happily my fears were unfounded, as it was the best exhibition I have been to in a long time. A brilliant mix of the famous show-stoppers and the less known. I really enjoyed the photography! I would recommend this exhibition to everyone, and I will be going to see it again in August as I was so thrilled with it, that I have persuaded other Magritte fans to come and visit me from Norfolk, in order to come and see it with me again.

Daniel Sandiford

Traveled from Manchester on Saturday to see the Magritte Exhibition. Loved it. I really enjoyed the layout and was amazed by how much of his work had been brought together. Every corner I went round there was more and more. Well Done. Thank you for the fantastic time and opportunity to see so much of his work in one place and only down the road from me!

Tom Challenor

I read Richard Dorment's review in The Daily Telegraph on the train up to Liverpool, so entered the exhibition with some reservations. Ignore the review. The exhibition is both vibrant and challenging. A must see.

Joe Swan

Particularly enjoyed the variations on The Dominion of Light in the last room of the exhibition. Your use of lighting in this room heightened the impact - so thanks. There were some surprising moments, such as the 1945 diptych showing the invading army beneath a grey sky.


Hi Paul, thanks for visiting our exhibition. I'm really pleased that you liked our approach. Tate always aspires to find new and interesting ways to present artworks. Rather than taking a chronological approach, we thought it was important to present the artworks thematically to emphasise the consistency of Magritte's ideas throughout his career.

Paul Biddle

Wonderful as always to see Magritte's work - and fascinating to realise how much he he has influenced our vision of the world. A superb exhibition.


Excited about this exhibition! Hope to cover this on my blog Momardi: http://momardi.com