The Terror Stopper (Le Bouchon d'Epouvante), Plate VI from the series "Dawn at the Antipode (Aube à l'Antipode)Artist(s)René MagritteObject Creation Date1966Medium & Supportetching on paperDimensions
7 in (17.78 cm);19 ⅜ in x 14 ⅜ in (49.21 cm x 36.51 cm);15 ¼ in x 11 ⅜ in (38.74 cm x 28.89 cm)Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
The bowler hat often sported by conventionally dressed men in Magritte’s paintings appears by itself in this etching. This print is one of seven that accompany a volume of Alain Jouffroy’s earliest group of poems. Written when Jouffroy was nineteen and twenty, the poems first appeared at Breton’s insistence in the Surrealist journal Néon in 1947–1948. They were published in book form only in 1966. For Jouffroy, Magritte was the only artist who could produce images that would capture the sense of reality of the poet’s dreamlike visions. The image of a tall hat ("Chapeau très ‘haut de forme’. . .") in one of the poems in the volume may relate to Magritte’s image. In a deeper sense the artist may have been responding to the strong sense of malaise and anxiety that pervades these poems, written when the young poet was undergoing a period of psychological crisis. The words "Usage externe" (external usage), inscribed on the hat, may relate to the theme of suicide in these poems. At the same time the words seem to contain a witty reflection on the use of hats as external covering. The title of Magritte’s image, Le Bouchon d’Epouvante (The Terror Stopper), may suggest the salutary effects of conventionality on fears that have the potential to incapacitate.
Editions du Soleil Noir in Paris published this illustrated volume. Magritte himself did not etch the printing plates, but he oversaw the work of the master printer at the Atelier Rigal, who translated the artist’s pen and ink drawings into etchings.
Label copy from exhibition "Dreamscapes: The Surrealist Impulse," August 22 - October 25, 1998Primary Object ClassificationPrintCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
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modern and contemporary art