Réné Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967)
Gelatin silver print
4 1/4 x 6 9/16 in. (10.8 x 16.7 cm)
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 (1987.1100.157)
© 2011 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Edward James was an eccentric poet, collector, and patron of both Dalí and Magritte. In 1937, when Magritte visited James in London, he painted a vertical version of his 1929 canvas On the Threshold of Liberty to install in the stairwell; he also photographed his host and patron in front of the painting. The photographic description is so close to the painter's realistic style, and James is so close to the painting, that he seems to stand on the thresholdevidently unaware that the potential liberty before him is threatened by the heavy artillery at his side.