Paul Delvaux discovers in 1934 the surrealism in the manner of Magritte and De Chirico. He finds thereby the thread of his entire career. In the silence of the canvas, without a need for words, the reflection in the mirror and the shadows know how to lie.
Delvaux beautifully draws the nude women. Their psychology is not visible in their static attitude but through their surrounding. They face their double, who can be a dressed woman or a reflection or a dummy.
Le Miroir, oil on canvas 110 x 136 cm painted in 1936, demonstrates the creativity of the artist in the early days of his approach.
The woman turns her back to us, sitting on a stool in an interior. Her beautiful evening dress contrasts with the wall paper that peels into a misery which is certainly the truth that she wants to escape.
She watches her desire in the mirror. Her reflection is in the same seated position but now she is naked within a gate that opens onto a sunny courtyard with trees. The reflection of the shabby paper is also visible. The new angle reveals her smile of hope. The light remains logic with shadows that do not contradict it.
The doubt arises from the opposition between the inside and the outside. The title appeals for a mirror but does that woman look at her reflection or at a painted image which in this case would be a painting in the painting ? This question shall remain unanswered, both without truth and without lie.
Le Miroir was sold for £ 3.2M including premium by Christie's on December 8, 1999. It is estimated £ 5.5M for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 3, lot 48.
SOLD for £ 7.3M including premium