Not to be Reproduced
|Type||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||81.3 cm × 65 cm (32.0 in × 26 in)|
|Location||Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam|
This painting was commissioned by poet and Magritte patron Edward James and is considered a portrait of James although James' face is not depicted. This painting was one of three produced by Magritte for the ballroom of James' London home. The other two were The Red Model (1937) and Time Transfixed (1938).
The work depicts a man standing in front of a mirror, but whereas the book on the mantelpiece is reflected correctly, the man can see only the back of his head.
Connections to Other Works
The book on the mantel is a well-worn copy of Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (written here in French as Les aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym). Poe was one of Magritte's favorite authors and he made other references to the author and his work. For example, the title of the painting The Domain of Arnheim (1938) was taken from the Poe short story of the same name.
Magritte painted another portrait of Edward James titled The Pleasure Principle (1937). It depicts James from the front, sitting at a table; however, his face is obscured by a bright flash like that produced by a camera flash.