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Yves Tanguy was born in Paris, France, January 5, 1900. Tanguy never had any formal training as a painter in fact he spent his youth sailing with the Merchant Navy. In 1923 he returned to Paris where he would spend his days sketching at cafés. After seeing a painting by Giorgio de Chirico he decided to become a painter. He joined the Surrealists in 1925 and began to employ automatism to create his paintings. What makes his art stand out from his fellow artists was that none of his depictions had much grounding in reality. When we look at paintings by Ernst, Chirico, Marguerite, and Picasso we see images that are easily identifiable. When one looks at a painting by Tanguy what you are seeing is the unconscious in its purest form. Tanguy may have been influenced by rock formations near Brittany where his mother lived but is an influence not a representation of reality.
“If Tanguy’s style is realistic, his visual poetry is abstract.” (Tompkins)
Tanguy was probably one of the only surrealists to really employ automatism to create his works. A person can see recognizable shapes and objects in most other surrealist art but not in Tanguy’s. He reached deep into his unconscious and brought forth art that did not change much over his life, if anything it got darker and more intense.
Imagery Numbers was probably one of Tanguy’s last paintings before his death in 1955 and it really shows how more disturbing his paintings became.
Imagery Numbers, 1954 Yves Tanguy
Photo CC http://www.artexperiencenyc.com
Tanguy met Kay Sage, his future wife in 1939 in Paris. He followed her to the United States following the start of World War II. They got married in 1940 and made their home in Woodbury Connecticut where they turned their home into a studio. Tanguy and Kay spent the rest of their lives in Woodbury where he died of a stroke in 1955.
I like Tanguy’s work because it is really is the essence of surrealism and what the Surrealists were trying to accomplish as an art movement, but I prefer the works of Magritte, and Dali who I will hopefully be talking about in the next two weeks.
A Large Painting Which is a Landscape, 1927
Photo CC of WikiArt
The Certitude of the Never Seen, 1933
Photo CC of Arctic.edu
The Satin Tuning Fork, 1940
Photo CC of Metmuseum.org
Indefinite Divisibility, 1942
Photo cc of Wikipedia
Through Birds, Through Fire, but Not Through Glass 1943
Photo cc of artsconnected.org
My Life, White and Black 1944
Photo cc of metsmuseum.org
References and Cited Sources:
http://www.wikiart.org/en/yves-tanguy#supersized-featured-187411- this is a great link to go to and scroll through some of Tanguy’s art.
Tomkins, C., & Duchamp, M. (1966). The world of Marcel Duchamp, 1887-. New York: Time.
Rubin, W. (1968). Dada, Surrealism, and their heritage. New York: Museum of Modern Art; distributed by New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, Conn.
Crispolti, E. (1970). Ernst, Miró, and the surrealists. New York: McCall Pub.