portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Monday, July 16, 2018

Dorothea Tanning

Another in an occasional series on women artists. Dorothea Tanning was a significant figure in the earliest group of Surrealists and many will be familiar with some of her standard surreal paintings but there's more work that struck me too. American born (Illinois 1910) and an artist for over 70 years she is known largely for her early surreal work but also for being married to one of the movement's elder statesmen in Max Ernst and as was so often the case was overshadowed somewhat by her more famous husband and the other male figures of Surrealism but I reckon she was a force to be reckoned with and an accomplished artist for sure. It is merely the historians and critics who minimise the role of such fine artists to their eternal shame

'Eine Kleine Nacht Musik' - Dorothea Tanning perhaps her most famous painting

Women artists. There is no such thing – or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as "man artist" or "elephant artist." You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you.                                  – Dorothea Tanning, 1990 
Tanning website

Dorothea and Max Ernst in front of one of her paintings

Self portrait
So these two paintings (above) are what many will be familiar with but later her style developed and progressed and became in my view much more sophisticated and universal if you will. She also worked in mixed media making little vista boxes and surreal objects 

the work began to develop more abstract aspects

but look at these . . . . . . !

Nue couchée

UPDATE: I found this picture surfing . . . . . . 

Dorothea Tanning in her studio, 1959. The painting in the foreground is “Death and the Maiden” (1953).
Photograph by Alexander Liberman.

Dorothea in her studio 1988

Dorothea passed away in 2012 aged 101

the snag with some surrealism is that it revealed much of the psychology it professed to expound and this is very telling it struck me! Max Ernst and Dorothea in Sedona Arizona 

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