Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist best known for his depiction of ordinary objects in unusual contexts in order to create witty, thought-provoking images or challenge the viewer's perception of reality. He left school (the Academie des Beaux-Art in Brussels) at an early age, shortly after the loss of his mother to suicide, a loss to which Magritte's play with reality and illusion in his work has often been attributed. His earliest paintings reflect impressionism and cubism, and it wasn't until his late 50s that he began to receive recognition for his surrealist works. During World War II he supported himself through forgery, creating fake Picassos, Braques and Chiricos and later expanding to the printing of forged banknotes. After the war, however, he would pursue surrealist styles and themes, most of which focused on illusionistic, dream-like qualities and the poetic use of symbols. His work, which would see an increase in popularity in the 1960s, would go on to influence pop, minimalist and conceptual art after his death in 1967.