I hope this is a reasonable place to ask this question, at least until an art history StackExchange shows up. My memory is hazy about this but I seem to remember a René Magritte painting that depicts a horse-headed woman, facing right, in front of a stone window or sill, with hills in the distance. The overall painting might have had a blue or grey tint. The painting is not "Pure Reason" (1948) or "The Fine Idea" (1964), both of which feature similar horse-headed ladies, but no sill.

For bonus points, I'd love to know more about that painting -- where it is currently, when was it painted, and what does it mean.

2 Answers 2


Here is a virtual tour of a temporary exhibit Magritte La Ligne de vie that was held at MASI Lugano in Switzerland in late 2018 to early 2019. (I found this by way of an Italian language blog post which does not seem to include any details about the painting itself, except for an image.) If you navigate toward the back of the gallery in this virtual your, you can find this, which fits the description perfectly.

Magritte painting

Unfortunately it is very difficult to read the sign on the wall in the image above. A reverse Google Image search can lead you to this page, implying that the painting is L’agent secret (The secret agent), 1958 and is held in a private collection. I'm not able to find any more direct verification of this, but the dimensions listed (50 x 70 cm) match perfectly. (The virtual tour allows you to actually measure the painting.)

EDIT: There is a published catalog of the exhibit which probably has more information but is not directly accessible online.

  • 2
    What a weird tour where you get to measure the dimensions but not see the name of the artwork. I suspect they repurposed some kind of house-viewing tool for people looking to buy a house as it makes sense to be able to measure things there.
    – Flater
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 21:48

I think you're referring to a study done for his 1964 painting, 'Le Météore (Étude)' ('The Meteor'). Here's the study. Note that it shows the "lady" facing left rather than right (perhaps the image you remember was shown reversed?). Farther down that page is the final painting, where the sill has been removed and the background changed to a forest.

For bonus points :), the link I included shows that it was sold by Sotheby's in 2016, for $200,000. No word on its present whereabouts. As for "meaning", the linked page includes a short discussion of Magritte's "horse problem" that may be illuminating.

  • Here is the painting, Le Météore. That's close to what the question describes lacking the "hills in the distance".
    – Brian Z
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 16:25

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