In her own words...
I never felt the need to cultivate my unconscious. Then or now. It is there. Alchemically fused with my conscious self, assuring my individuation. They mesh and work together to make of me whatever it is that I am.
– Dorothea Tanning, 1989
New On View
"Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity" is on view at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice through September 26, 2022, after which it will travel to Museum Barberini, Potsdam. With paintings such as The Magic Flower Game (1941), the exhibition explores the inspiration that many artists of the Surrealist movement drew from the symbolism of magic and the occult.
"The Picasso Century" is open at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, through October 9, 2022. Developed with the Centre Pompidou and the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the exhibition charts the extraordinary career of Pablo Picasso in dialogue with works by more than 50 of the artists, poets and intellectuals with whom he intercepted and interacted throughout the 20th century. Among the paintings on view is A Very Happy Picture (1947).
"SURREAL! Imagining New Realities" is on view at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna through October 16, 2022. The exhibition, drawn largely from the private collection of Helmut Klewan, explores the relationship of the theories that emerged from psychoanalysis to the art and practices of surrealism. The show includes the lithograph Bateau Blue (The Grotto) (1950):
"Other Worlds Than This: The Supernatural in Art" is open at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York, through November 6, 2022. This wide-ranging exhibition traces imagery related to demons, ghosts, extra-sensory phenomena, and the occult from ancient times through modern and contemporary art. The show includes the suite of lithographs Les 7 périls spectraux (The 7 Spectral Perils) (1950) and the collage Lesson 7 (1986).
"The Milk of Dreams," The 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, is on view through November 27, 2022. Curated by Ceclia Alemani, the exhibition contemplates artists' views of the body and its metamorphoses through the perspectives of technology, language, nature, and the earth, with paintings such as Avatar (1947) providing historical context for contmeporary works.
"SurréAlice: Lewis Carroll et les Surréalistes" will be held jointly between the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg and Musée Tomi Ungerer/Centre International de l’Illustration in Strasbourg from November 18, 2022 - February 26, 2023. The exhibition will explore the ways in which Lewis Carroll's work informed Surrealism, and will include the painting Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943).
New In Print
Kasmin Gallery has released a fully illustrated, scholarly catalogue for the exhibition "Dorothea Tanning: Doesn’t the Paint Say It All?" which examined the artist's unique surrealist practice and the tension between abstraction and figuration in her paintings throughout her career. The exhibition and book take their title from Tanning’s own essay entitled "To Paint," a poetic and impassioned text first published in 1986 that resembles a personal manifesto on her own creative process and the nature of the medium. The publication includes this text together with reflections on Tanning’s paintings by three art historians and scholars of surrealism: Mary Ann Caws, Katharine Conley, and Victoria Carruthers (author of the recent monograph Dorothea Tanning: Transformations, Lund Humphries, 2020). Among the paintings discussed is Door 84 from 1984.
Anna Watz has published an article in Art History (Vol. 45:1, February 2022) entitled "Maternities: Dorothea Tanning's Aesthetics of Touch." In it, the author examines Tanning's paintings and sculpture of the late 1960s and early 1970s in which themes of touch, contiguity, and the concept of maternity examplify some of the intellectual crosscurrents between poststructuralist feminism and art of this period. The full text can be viewed here.
Ara H. Merjian's essay "A Surrealist 'Little Sister'? Dorothea Tanning’s (Femme) Fatala (1947), Metaphysical Painting, and the Roman Policier" appeared in Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry (vol. 37, no. 2, 2021, pp. 178–91), with a fascinating examination of the painting Fatala.
Catriona McAra published a chapter in Surrealist Women’s Writing: A Critical Exploration, edited by Anna Watz (Manchester University Press, 2021, pp. 210-224). In "Open Sesame: Dorothea Tanning’s Critical Writing," Dr. McAra examine Tanning's nonfiction writing within the context of both her broader literary and visual arts œuvre.
Victoria Carruthers has published Dorothea Tanning: Transformations, released by Lund Humphries. A definitive study of the artist's life and career, this monograph provides a framework within which to consider the range and depth of Tanning's work and thematic preoccupations. The book is extensively illustrated and features previously unpublished material from interviews which the author conducted with the artist between 2000 and 2009. The author discusses the book in an interview found here.
Max Ernst – D-paintings – Zeitreise der Liebe, an exhibition catalogue published by the Max Ernst Museum Brühl, celebrates a set of paintings created by Ernst from the time he first met Dorothea Tanning in 1942 until his death in 1976. Every year Ernst gave Tanning a work for her birthday, almost always hiding the letter D for Dorothea. Dr. Jürgen Pech examines all 36 "D-paintings" together with important contemporaneous works by Tanning and numerous photographs, letters, and other documents in a fully illustrated double biography that portrays their extraordinary love story.
In her own voice...
Dorothea Tanning: Insomia – a short film made in 1978 by the German director Peter Schamoni – offers the opportunity to hear the artist's observations about her life and work and to see her in her home and studio in Seillans, France. The film can be viewed here, courtesy of the Schamoni Film & Media Archive in Munich.
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.