Magritte and the Beatles
Black and white photo of Magritte's 1966 painting.
The Apple logo was directly inspired by a Belgian, the surrealist painter René Magritte (1898-1967).
In an interview with Johan Ral in 1993, Paul McCartney remembers: "There's a great story about that. I had this friend called Robert Fraser, who was a gallery owner in London. We used to hang out a lot. And I told him I really loved Magritte. We were discovering Magritte in the sixties, just through magazines and things. And we just loved his sense of humour. And when we heard that he was a very ordinary bloke who used to paint from nine to one o'clock, and with his bowler hat, it became even more intriguing. Robert used to look around for pictures for me, because he knew I liked him. It was so cheap then, it's terrible to think how cheap they were. But anyway, we just loved him ... One day he brought this painting to my house. We were out in the garden, it was a summer's day. And he didn't want to disturb us, I think we were filming or something. So he left this picture of Magritte. It was an apple - and he just left it on the dining room table and he went. It just had written across it "Au revoir", on this beautiful green apple. And I tought that was like a great thing to do. He knew I'd love it and he knew I'd want it and I'd pay him later. [...] So it was like wow! What a great conceptual thing to do, you know. And this big green apple, which I still have now, became the inspiration for the logo. And then we decided to cut it in half for the B-side!"
The painting which became the inspiration for the Apple logo is actually called Le jeu de mourre (The game of mora) and dates from 1966.
The title was found by Magritte's friend, the Belgian poet Louis Scutenaire, and is probably a play of words on Les jeunes amours (Young love), the title of a work by Magritte showing three apples. The game of mora is "a game in which one of the players rapidly displays a hand with some fingers raised, the others folded inwards, while his opponent calls out a number, which, for him to win, has to correspond to the total of the raised fingers".*
(*) From: René Magritte - Catalogue Raisonné, edited by David Sylvester. Menil Foundation/Fonds Mercator, 1993.