Our most surreal story: The incongruous juxtaposition of Magritte and Bonanza

Dr. B and I are just wrapping up a week in Brussels and today we toured an art museum devoted exclusively to the great Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte (1989-1967).

Among the things we learned was that, early in his career, he did commercial advertising work, creating film posters and covers for musical scores, to support himself financially.

As part of the exhibition, there is a biographical movie about Magritte. In 1965, two years before his death from pancreatic cancer, he was visited and photographed in his Brussels’ home by American photographer Duane Michals (b. 1932). At one point in the film, Michals described times when he would have lunch with Magritte and his wife, Georgette. According to Michals, the “fourth person” at the table was a television set and Mr. Magritte’s favorite TV show was the western drama Bonanza.

One of the four principle actors in the series was Michael Landon who, like Magritte, died from cancer of the pancreas (Landon in 1991 at the age of 54).

Related story: Patrick Swayze and the apparent “epidemic” of pancreatic cancer among public figures


Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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