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

"SURREAL! Imagining New Realities" is on view at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna through April 10, 2023.  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).


"What Now? (Or Not Yet)" is open at the The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, through September 10, 2023.  The exhibition reflects on the theme of transformation, from the evolving nature of museum collections to art's power to help us see the past or shape the future. An initial installation from the curators' point of view will be followed by a re-installation in May from the students' perspective. Works will range from historical pieces among Matthew Vassar’s initial bequest in 1864 to the Loeb’s most recent loans, gifts, and acquisitions, and will include the recently accessioned painting To Climb a Ladder (1987).   




New In Print

Kasmin Gallery has published the exhibition catalogue Dorothea Tanning: Doesn’t the Paint Say It All?  Both the show and the book take their title from Tanning’s own essay entitled "To Paint," which is included in the publication. This poetic and impassioned text, first published in 1986, describes the artist's creative process and the nature of the medium itself.   The catalogue also explores the artist's unique surrealist practice and the tension between abstraction and figuration in her work through reflections on Tanning’s paintings by three art historians and scholars of surrealism: Mary Ann Caws, Katharine Conley, and Victoria Carruthers.  The publication has been nominated by the contributers to Hyperallergic as one of "The Best Art Books of 2022," a list of "20 must-reads that informed and broadened their worldviews this year."   


Susan L. Power contemplates the motif of doors in her essay "Portes et miroirs dans le monde surconscient de Dorothea Tanning" in the exhibition catalogue SurréAlice: Lewis Carroll et les Surréalistes (Vol. 1 of 2, Strasbourg: Editions des Musées de Strasbourg, 2022, pp. 75-83). The publication explores the Surealists' interest in Carroll's work as a precursor and inspiration to their own.


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.


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.




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)