‘Magic realism’ was coined by German art critic Franz Roh in 1925, categorising contemporary realistic paintings of fantasy or dream-like subjects.
Franz Roh introduced the term in his book ‘Nach Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus’ (After Expressionism: Magic Realism).
In Central Europe, magic realism emerged as a response to modern and avant-garde art, marking a return to more traditional forms of expression following World War I. Prominent magic realist artists included Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Alexander Kanoldt, and Adolf Ziegler, among others. This style bears a resemblance to the dreamlike portrayals found in surrealism and neo-romanticism in France.
Also, the term ‘magic realism’ has been applied to certain American painters of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Paul Cadmus, Philip Evergood, and Ivan Albright.
In literature, the critic Angel Flores used the term in 1955 to describe the works of writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez, and it has since become a significant but occasionally debated literary classification.