Art in New Orleans

1967 -- The Labors of Alexander, René Magritte

Art Supplies & Tools
2002 -- Tree of Necklaces, Jean-Michel Othoniel
--- The 1970's ---
1970's -- Robert Indiana, LOVE, Red Blue
1979 -- Three Figures and Four Benches, George Segal
1975 -- Reclining Mother and Child, Henry Moore
1973 -- Four Lines Oblique, George Rickey
1971 -- Una Battaglia, Arnaldo Pomodoro
1979-80 -- Two Sitting Figures, Lynn Chadwick
--- The 1960's ---
1967 -- The Labors of Alexander, René Magritte
1965 -- River Form, Barbara Hepworth
--- The 1990's ---
1999 -- Claes Oldenburg, Safety Pin
1999 -- Restrained (Horse), Deborah Butterfield
1995 -- Spider, Louise Bourgeois
1991 -- Joel Shapiro, Untitled
--- The 1980's ---
1989 -- Rebus 3D-89-3, Ida Kohlmeyer
1987 -- Standing Man With Outstretched Arms, Stephen De Staebler
1983 -- Pablo Casals Obelisk, Arman
1949-57 -- Sacrifice III, Jacques Lipchitz
Ossip Zadkine, La Poetesse
Week 8 -- Hyams Fountain, 1921
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Week 9
Week 10 -- McFadden House -- 1920
Week 11 -- Reggie Bush Stadium
Week 11 -- Enrique Alferez -- City Park
Week 11 -- Enrique Alferez -- Fountain of the Winds
Week 12 -- Enrique Alferez -- Shushan Airport
Week 12 -- Enrique Alferez - marble chip and granite cast -- Molly Marine
Week 12 -- Story Land
Week 12 -- Blaine Kern -- Papier-mâché -- Mardi Gras Floats
Week 13 -- Hines Carousel -- Carved Wood
Week 13 -- New Orleans Museum of Art
Week 14 -- WPA in New Orleans
Week 15 -- Ida Kohlmeyer
Week 16 -- Review
Week 17 -- More Enrique Alfarez
Clark Mills -- Bronze Sculpture -- Andrew Jackson
Emmanuel Fremiet -- Joan of Arc
1897 - John McDonogh
Alexander Doyle - Margaret Haughery
Alexander Doyle -- Robert E. Lee
P.G.T. Beauregard
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1957 - Simon Boliva
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Curruiculm Objectives/Suggested Activities
Bibliography and Suggested Reading
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Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog (New Orleans)

The Labors of Alexander, 1967, René Magritte, (Belgian, 1898-1967)

cast bronze in two pieces, 25 x 60 x 41 in


More Magritte

René Magritte was a Surrealist whose work features wit, irony and the juxtaposition of images to startle and amuse the viewer. Unlike other Surrealists, Magritte did not rely on subconscious expression in his work. His work relies on the constant interplay between the relationship of images and words to question perceived reality. Like other Surrealist works, the Belgian artist’s works call into question the ability of the mind to rationally discern seriousness from humor or reason from chaos. Magritte is probably most known for his series of paintings of a faceless, nameless man in a bowler hat, as well as a series of paintings of a man’s smoking pipe with the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe [This is not a pipe.].” The titles of his paintings are usually as elusive and dumbfounding as his paintings and serve to confound the viewer.


Late in his life, Magritte commissioned eight of his paintings to be reproduced in the three dimensional bronze form. In 1967 Magritte chose the paintings that were to be transposed. The models of the sculptures were cast in wax and Magritte approved and signed the works to be completed in bronze. Unfortunately, the artist died before the sculptures were completed. The inspiration for this sculpture, The Labors of Alexander, was originally painted in 1950. The image of the felled tree had been used in several of Magritte’s paintings. This image, like most of the artist’s works, questions the common sense of the viewer. A tree has recently been cut and the ax is now secured underneath the root of the tree stump. Who could have chopped down the tree? Where are they now? Could the tree be responsible for its own demise? How did the ax get under the tree root? These questions are, of course, left unanswered.

Magritte in popular culture:
For the 1973 movie The Excorist, the poster image and important scene where Father Merrin arrives at the MacNeil house was inspired by Magritte's 1954 painting L'Empire des lumières (Empire of Light).

  • In the UK TV series Sapphire & Steel, (in the untitled fourth serial), the appearance of the faceless spirit, and of the photos he hides inside, are based on Magritte's works.
  • Metalcore band Recover titled their 2002 album "Ceci n'est pas." The album cover features a picture of the band on a background similar to The Treachery of Images; "Ceci n'est pas Recover" is written under the picture in a font similar to that of the painting.
  • On the set of the television show Good Eats, there is a painting over a fireplace of a turkey floating in front of a sky background with a bowler hat floating above it, an obvious reference to Magritte's painting "The Son of Man".

What was going on the world when this sculpture was created?

Minimalists working in New York.


Pop artists turn to popular culture for artistic inspiration


1967 Magritte dies before seeing his completed sculptures.


1970 Robert Smithson creates Spiral Jetty, an environmental artwork on the Great Salt Lake.

1961 1,400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow Castro


1961 Construction of the Berlin Wall begins in East Germany


1964 South Africa banned from Olympic Games because of

Apartheid policies


1964 - 75 Vietnam War

1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers “I have a dream...” speech at Lincoln Memorial


1963 Pres. J. F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas


1967 Thurgood Marshall, first black Supreme Court Justice sworn in
1969 Neil Armstrong makes first step on the moon


SegalAndMe.jpg Edit Picture




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Much information on this site courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art.