In her own words...



On one of those birthdays of which I’ve had so many
I was walking home through the park from a party,

pleased with myself for not mentioning the birthday —
why hear congratulations for doing nothing but live?

The birthday was my secret with myself and gave me,
walking under all those trees, such a strong feeling of

satisfaction that everything else fell away: party sounds,
the hostess who stared and as suddenly disappeared

on seeing her husband walk in with a young(er) friend;
another guest examining garment labels in the room 

where I went to leave my jacket; one of two waiters 
balancing a trayful of foot-high champagne glasses; 

a bee-like buzz of voices I ought to have enjoyed 
but heard as foreign babble, so remote it was from 

a birthday, so empty of import nothing would remain.
I got my jacket, waved from the hall, pressed Down.

In summer the park, for an hour or so before night,
is at its greenest, a whole implicit proposition

of green leaves, a triumph of leaves enfolding me 
that day in a green intimacy so trustworthy I told 

them my secret. “It’s my birthday,” I said out loud
before turning away to cross the avenue.

             – Dorothea Tanning,   b. August 25, 1910



“Open Call: Group 2,” is on view at The Shed in New York through August 25.  A section curated by artists Maryam Hoseini and Phoebe d'Heurle will feature several works, including Un tissu de songes (Web of Dreams) (1973-93).

“Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s” is on view at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, through September 29. The exhibition features the painting The Temptation of St. Anthony (1945) in an exploration of the Surrealists’ portrayals of monsters, fragmented bodies, and other depictions of the grotesque as metaphors for the destabilizing consequences of war and psychological fears and fantasies of unbridled power.

"Collection Close-Up: The Graphic Work of Dorothea Tanning" at The Menil Collection in Houston celebrates a gift of a full set of Tanning's prints and artist's books from Barbara and Jim Metcalf and the Gallery of Surrealism, New York.  On view through October 19, the exhibit will includes the lithograph Deuxième péril from the portfolio Les 7 périls spectraux (1950).

"Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein" will open at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, September 3 and remain on view through January 5. Exploring the influence of revolutionary advances in science on modern art, the exhibition includes the painting Midi et demi (Half Past Noon) (1956-57).




Catriona McAra, University Curator at Leeds Arts University, has published "Glowing Like Phosphorus: Dorothea Tanning and the Sedona Western" in Journal of Surrealism and the Americas  (10:1 [2019], pp. 84-105).  In this article, Dr. McAra explores the emergence of the Hollywood Western as a formidable pop cultural format during the 1940s-50s, and the complex role it played in the surrealist art and literature from that period.  The author examines the work of Ernst and Tanning created during their time living in Sedona, Arizona, where filmmakers were also drawn to the iconic red rock landscape.  

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid has published a fully illustrated catalogue in conjunction with the exhibition "Dorothea Tanning: Behind the Door, Another Invisible Door." The catalogue includes essays by exhibition curator Alyce Mahon, who gives an overview of the artist's career, and Tate curator Ann Coxon, who explores Tanning's work in light of the legacies of Surrealism and contemporary art practice.  The catalogue is published in Spanish and English.


Ongoing Projects

We are looking for information about a number of paintings in the effort to fully document Dorothea Tanning's work for a catalogue raisonné. If you have seen any of these paintings, please contact us.

Concerning Wishes (1942)

Le Petit Marquis (1947)

Angel in Mauve and Orange (Study for Anges gardiens) (1947)

Les Infatigables (The Indefatigables) (1965)SaveSave