Our Daily Bread (Le Pain Quotidien)

Our Daily Bread (Le Pain Quotidien)
Artist: René Magritte, Belgian, 1898-1967
Date: 1942
Dimensions: Canvas dimensions: 36 1/16 x 27 1/2 in. (91.6 x 69.85 cm)
Framed dimensions: 48 3/4 x 41 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (123.83 x 104.78 x 5.72 cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: On loan from the Van Haelen family, Brussels, Belgium
Object Number: 113.2016.1
Deaccession Criteria: Restitution/Returned to rightful owner: the work has been legally requested for restitution.

ACQUISITION INFORMATION: Gift of Nancy B. Hamon in honor of Margaret McDermott

PUBLISHED REFERENCES:

  • Paul Nougé, René Magritte ou les Images Défendues (Brussels: Les Auteurs Associés, 1943), 43.
  • David Sylvester and Sarah Whitfield, René Magritte: Catalogue raisonné, 5 vols. (Houston: Menil Foundation, 1992-97), 2: 294, no. 497.
     

EXHIBITION HISTORY:

  • I Bienal, São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, 1951.
  • René Magritte Exposé, La Louvière, Maison des Loisirs, 1954.
  • René Magritte, Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 1954.
  • XXXe Salon du Cercle Royal Artistique et Littéraire de Charleroi, Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 1956.
  • René Magritte, Brussels, Musée d’Ixelles, 1959.
  • Exposition Magritte, Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1960.
  • XVe festival de l’été : L’Oeuvre de René Magritte, Brussels, Casino Communal, July-August 1962.
  • Impressionist and Modern Masters in Dallas: Monet to Mondrian, Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, 1989.
  • From the Private Collections of Texas: European Art, Ancient to Modern, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 2009.
     

PROPOSED METHOD OF DISPOSAL:  Loan to DMA through December 31, 2018,and then return to Van Haelen family or its representative

CRITERIA FOR DEACCESSIONING:  A request from the family of Jean Van Haelen for restitution, with compelling evidence, as described below:

On October 22, 2014, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) received a letter on behalf of the descendants and heirs of Jean Van Haelen of Brussels, Belgium, claiming that the painting had been stolen from the home of a member of the family in April 1968. The painting was accessioned by the DMA as a partial gift in 2002. In 2011, upon receiving full ownership of the work, the DMA conducted its own research into the painting’s history of ownership, as the provenance recorded in the Magritte catalogue raisonné listed a theft in 1968. The DMA’s investigation concluded with the Belgian Federal Police finding no record of a complaint in the archives of the Direction Judiciaire du lutte contre la criminalité contre les Biens, service ART (Judicial Branch of the Fight against Property Crimes, Art Division), nor any supporting evidence or documentation of the purported theft by the Comité Magritte or the Magritte Museum in Brussels.  The October 2014 letter from the Van Haelen family expressed a desire to reclaim the painting and provided new evidence supporting the claim that the painting had been stolen.  This evidence is described below.  The DMA evaluated the information presented and concluded that the additional evidence, when considered with the information already known to the DMA, supported returning the work to the Van Haelen family.

EVIDENCE:

1. Three press clippings covering the theft, including an April 30, 1968, article in Le Soir newspaper
2. Photo of the painting hanging on the wall of a private living room, which the family states is the Van Haelen home
3. Letter dated November 14, 1960, documenting the loan of the work to the Musée des Beaux Arts of Liège
4. Letter dated August 29, 1968, to Art Gallery Guy Dorekens referencing the theft
5. Page 497 of the Catalogue Raisonné on Magritte by David Sylvester, which states that “It was acquired from the artist at the time it was painted by Jan Van Haelen, Brussels, and remained with him until it was stolen in 1968.  It has since reappeared in a private collection.”
6. Catalogue pages of three publications, purportedly dated 1943, 1959, and 1960, attributing the painting to the collection of J. Van Haelen/Jean Van Haelen