Know that I am a genius

Postcard from Magritte, Thomas Owen Centennial exhibition, Belgium 2010.
Postcard from Magritte, Thomas Owen Centennial exhibition, Belgium 2010.

Before becoming one of the greatest mystery writers, Thomas Owen started out as an art critic writing for La Libre Belgique and Le Phare under the pseudonym Stéphane Rey. He had the gall to criticise one of Magritte’s works, which prompted the following response from the artist: Mr Art Critic, As stupid as ever, how sad and permanent. But know that I am a genius. Useless salutations, Magritte. The insult harboured an invaluable gift: the revelation that an artist could have no doubts whatsoever concerning his genius. Following this vision, I better understand Thomas Owen’s fascination for mystery and horror.

Avant de devenir l’un des plus grands romanciers fantastiques, Thomas Owen débuta comme critique d’art pour "La Libre Belgique" et "Le Phare" sous le pseudonyme de Stéphane Rey. Il eut l’outrecuidance de critiquer une œuvre de Magritte, ce qui lui valut cette réponse de l’artiste : "Monsieur le critique d’art, Toujours aussi bête, Hélas que c’est triste et définitif. Mais sachez que je suis un génie. Salutations inutiles, Magritte". L’insulte recelait un cadeau inestimable : la révélation qu’un artiste puisse ne douter aucunement de son génie. Après cette vision, je comprends mieux la fascination de Thomas Owen pour l’épouvante.


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