Did you know that the famous Surrealist artist, Rene Magritte, was Belgian? Yup, it’s not just moules frites and Jean-Claude Van Damme over here, y’know. Now, the reason I am telling you this is twofold – firstly, Brussels has a very excellent Magritte museum that I went to today, and that is well worth a visit the next time you’re over here. It’s located on Place Royale, which is pretty lovely in its own right. And there is a rather good gift shop as part of the museum which is well stocked with prints, postcards, souvenirs and a wide variety of reference books.
The museum is designed to reflect Magritte’s surrealism – “mirroring the play between confrontation and meaning, which is demonstrated in a space where reproductions convey the artist’s original ideas“. I’m not entirely convinced that they’ve succeeded, though the museum is easy to navigate with signage in English, French and Dutch, has a good range of works and tells a pretty comprehensive history of Magritte’s life and art. It also introduced me to a much wider range of his paintings that I had not come across before – I mean we all know and love the bowler hats, the green apples, the doves and the clouds. But had you seen the paintings below? I certainly was not familiar with them.
The second reason I’m telling you about my day is because I’ve also chosen Rene Magritte as the Belgian inspiration for today’s post. Here are my top picks to bring a little Magritte, and therefore a little bit of Belgium, into your home:
First up: Cloud-based inspiration comes in the form of wallpaper. For a cute and whimsical design, perfect for, but not limited to, a child’s bedroom, I really like the Farg and Form cloud wallpaper available from This Modern Life. The design is based on a Gunila Axen print from the 1960s and is printed by Swedish firm Duro. It costs £44 per roll (which covers 10m x 53cm with a 53cm pattern repeat), and whilst it is grey rather than the blue you see in Magritte’s work, this just makes it more versatile!
I’ve chosen something far more dramatic and grown up for my second choice. Check out this fantastic wall mural by Cole and Son! I absolutely love this for making a dramatic statement in a room. I’m seriously considering a dark and stormy theme for my guest bedroom, using greys, navys, and splashes of reds or bright yellows, and this wallpaper would really fit the bill. Sold in both mural form as well as wallpaper, the mural is 270cm wide x 265cm high, and whilst not cheap at all at £268, I just don’t think you’d get tired of looking at it! It’s called Nuvole and is part of Cole and Son’s Mural collection. Larger sizes are available, as well as bespoke options. I really, really like this!
Next up, how about this quirky Bowler hat pendant light? It’s whimsical, it’s surrealism in action, it’s British-made, and it’s only £64. Available from British firm, Mr J Designs, you also get to choose the colour of the fabric cord that comes with the light, as well as which LED bulb you’d like (if you want one of course).
Whilst I was on the site, I also came across this wonderfully cheeky ‘moustache’ wall decoration – a steal at only £38, and another item to show off a sense of humour through your decorating scheme! This item is so cool, it even comes with its own moustache comb, because, you know, you wouldn’t want it getting unkempt….! Excellent.
So there are my top picks for introducing a little Magritte magic into your lives. Another cheaper and slightly less flamboyant option would also be to just display some fresh, green apples in your fruit bowl as a healthy and affordable homage. You can always leave one out just to the side as a cheeky nod to your inner surrealist!
Are there any bold and daring interiors statements that you have made and that you’d like to share? I’d love to see them!
Happy travels, and shopping,