Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium in 1898. In 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels for two years until 1918. During this time he met Georgette Berger, whom he married in 1922.
Magritte worked in a wallpaper factory, and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926 when a contract with Galerie la Centaure in Brussels made it possible for him to paint full-time.