Friends of Magritte: Harry Torczyner

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 3:08:01 PM

Friends of Magritte: Harry Torczyner

Harry Torczyner or Justice Has Been Done 1958

Harry Torczyner met Magritte around 1956 was Magritte's New York-based attorney, friend, and stateside promoter. Up until Magritte's unexpected death in 1967, Torczyner kept every letter that they exchanged (including replicas of his own responses) during their ten year correspondence. This book of letters with photographs, handwritten excerpts, and Magritte's working sketches are also interspersed throughout the anthology "Letters Between Friends." Accompanying each letter is a French translation -- the language in which they were originally written -- and exact dates of composition are meticulously recorded. The highlights, of course, are Magritte's letters themselves, with his candid descriptions of inspiration, roadblocks, the creative process, and revelations about his own art and that of his contemporaries

Biography and obituary: Harry Torczyner (1910-1998) New York

New York lawyer and poet
who befriended the painter René Magritte

Wolfgang Saxon, "Harry Torczyner, 87, Lawyer, Writer and Promoter of Artists" (obituary), New York Times (April 13, 1998):

Harry Torczyner, an international lawyer, art collector and writer who championed the causes of Israel and his native Belgium, died on March 26 at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. He was 87.

Through museum and gallery exhibits Mr. Torczyner helped introduce a wider American public to the work of Beglian artists, especially the Surrealist painter Rene Magritte, to whom he was a friend and advisor. He wrote several books and articles ab out the artist, arranged for showings and donated some of Magritte's work to the Museum of Modern Art in New York ("L'Éternité" and "La Perspective") and to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

A Native of Antwerp, Mr. Torczyner received his higher education at the University of Heidelberg and Columbia University School of Law. He practiced law in Belgium before fleeig the Nazis and coming to the United States via France, Spain and Cuba. Besides English, he spoke French, Dutch, German and Spanish.

During World War II he workd for the Office of War Information. He set up his practice in New York in 1946, dealing with international and foreign law, copyright law and general practice.

He served as counsel to American diamond dealers like Harry Winston Inc., to the Diamond Trade and Precious Stone Association, and to the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, and was a director of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce in the United States. . . .

Mr. Torczyner is survived by his wife, Marcelle Siva Torczyner; two daughters, Evelyn Musher Schechter of Manhattan and Denise Wiseman of Caper, Wyo.; a brother, Jacque, of Manhattan; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The entry on Torczner in the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature 812-813 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2nd ed., 1980)(Jea-Albert Bédé & William B. Edgerton eds.) notes that: "In the 1960s, with Lous Scutenaire, Marcel Lecomte, André Pieyre De Mandiargues, and René Magritte, among others, Torczyner contributed to the literary and artistic journal Rhétorique. Moreover, various poems of his have appeared in the periodical Le Moi and in Spanish in Comentario.


Harry Torczyner, Miettes (New York: Egmont Press, 1952) (translated title: Crumbs)

_____________, Un Coin de désert ([France?]: Éditions Vynckier Courtrai, 1958)(Octave Landuyt illustrations)(translated title: A Corner of the Desert)


Richard Miller (trans.), Magritte | Torczyner: Letters Between Friends (New York: Henry N. Abrams, 1994) [Harry Torczyner, L'Ami Magritte, Correspondance et Souveniers (Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1992)]


Leo M. Drechsler & Harry Torczyner (eds.), Forgery in Art and the Law: A Symposium (New York: Federal Legal Publications, 1956)

Harry Torczyner, O. Landuyt (New York: Albert Landry Galleries, 1962)

____________, "The color of time," 30 aquarelles and 4 large brushdrawings by Alechinsky: ... [exhibition] March 9 to April 10, 1976 at the Lefebre Gallery" (New York: Lefebre Gallery, 1976) ["The color of time / by Harry Torczyner": p. [3]-[5]. / Chronology of Alechinsky's life: p. [6]-[12]]

_____________, Magritte, Ideas and Images ( New York : H.N. Abrams, 1977) [René Magritte, signes et images (Paris: Draeger, 1977)(Paris: Draeger/Vilo, 1982)

_____________, Magritte, the True Art of Painting (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979) (New York: Abradale Press/Abrams, 1985)(1979)(Richard Miller trans.) [Le véritable art de peindre (Paris: Draeger, 1978)]

_____________, The Castle of the Pyrennees i Jerusaleum (1990)

Copyright 2006


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