Magritte’s ‘Intimate Friend’ sold for millions


The intimate friend (l’Ami intime), a painting by Belgian surrealist René Magritte was recently auctioned off for 33.66 million pounds, or nearly forty million euros.

Magritte’s man with the bowler hat is almost as iconic as his (visual representation of a) pipe, and he makes his appearance in The intimate friend as well. A glass and baguette appear to float behind the man as he stares into the distance at an iconically Magrittean blue and white sky. The painting dates from 1960, well over three decades since the character with the bowler hat was introduced in Magritte’s paintings in 1926. The intimate friend was last exhibited to the public in 1998.

While it’s a dizzying number, it doesn’t come close to L’empire des lumières, which was sold in 2022 for a surreal (forgive the play on words) 71.4 million euros. Then again, René Magritte is truly one of the greatest of his generation.

Did you know that the house in Jette where he lived from 1930 to 1954 has been turned into a museum? Besides works by the late artist, it also boasts abstract Belgian art. Perfect to combine with a trip to the almost eponymous museum at the Mont des Arts.