The composition shows a large snowy mountain seen from a chalet. Everything is normal except that the horizon is centered on a bird's head whose details are zoomorphic. The surprise occasioned by this discovery leads the viewer to perceive the landscape as the extended wings of an eagle. In the foreground two beautiful eggs are placed on a low wall.
The artist has thus grouped two dualities which are among the permanent themes of his surreal world : the living and the rock form an impossible pair while egg to bird is somehow a metamorphosis similar as caterpillar to butterfly. From 1932 the artist placed eggs in bird cages.
The title also has a double meaning. Arnhem in the Netherlands has as its etymological origin 'the home of the eagle' from an Old German word. The Domain of Arnheim is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe in which a man with unlimited wealth remodels the landscape to make it more beautiful than what nature alone can do. This title chosen by Magritte is also an acknowledgment of Poe as a forerunner of Surrealism.
From 1938 to 1962 Magritte built his sublime landscape ten times, always with the same title : three paintings and seven gouaches. The original version, oil on canvas 73 x 100 cm, is estimated £ 6.5M for sale by Christie's in London on February 28, lot 112. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
SOLD for £ 10.2M including premium