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qwert asked

What is the importance and significance of this work?

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Hi, The image is characteristic for the surrealist movement: it’s a reality which could not actually exist except in dreams and in the realm of imagination. After ‘Au seuil de la liberté’. Magritte painted another famous painting in 1937: ‘La reproduction interdite’. Magritte based that painting on a photograph he made of Edward James looking at ‘Au seuil de la liberté’. You can read more about this subject on, where you can find an in-depth text on Surrealism. So, ‘Au seuil de la liberté’ is not only typically surrealistic, it has also been the basis for another important painting that Magritte made. Best, Daphne

Amandine asked

Is this painting from the series « canvas-words »?

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Dear Amandine, no this work is not an example of Magritte's 'word paintings'. Best Rianne


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Au seuil de la liberté

René Magritte (in 1930)

The painting shows a canon in a room, the walls of which show various images: clouds, the torso of a woman, several planks, or a façade with windows. The title of this work by René Magritte was suggested by his friend Paul Nougé. The title is probably borrowed from a quotation from the book Prester John by John Buchnan: 'The clear air of dawn was like wine in my blood. I was not free, but I was on the threshold of freedom'. In fact, the painting is really a promise.


Title Au seuil de la liberté
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type Painting
Location This object is on view in room 03
Dimensions (general) Width : 146 cm
Height : 114 cm
Makers Artist: René Magritte
Accession number 2709 (MK)
Credits Aankoop / Purchase: 1966
Department Modern Art
Acquisition date 1966
Age maker About 32 years old
Exhibitions Een prikkelcollectie (2000)
The Collection Enriched (2011)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
Gek van surrealisme (2017)
External exhibitions Surreal Encounters - Collecting the Marvellous (2016)
Dalí, Ernst, Miró, Magritte... (2016)
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938 (2013)
Material Oil > Paint > Artist's material > Material > Material and technique
Canvas > Worked fibres > Fibre > Vegetable material > Organic material > Material > Material and technique
Object Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Geographical origin Belgium > Western Europe > Europe

All about the maker

René Magritte

Lessen 1898 - Schaarbeek 1967

René Magritte studied at the academy in Brussels. He began as pattern designer in a carpet factory and as painter by painting and designing advertising posters..