In her own words...


Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don't see a different purpose for it now.

– Dorothea Tanning, 2002





New On View

Zabludowicz Collection in London has opened “The Stand-Ins: Figurative Painting from the Collection,” through December 19, 2021. The exhibition includes the Early Politics (1988), a painting inspired by the New Testament story of Salomé dancing for her stepfather King Herod Antipas as ordered by her mother, Queen Herodias. The artist once wrote, “I have long been fascinated by the consummate evil of Herodias. ….her ambition – and pretentions.”


"Surrealism Beyond Borders" is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through January 30, 2022, after which it will travel to Tate Modern in London. The exhibition explores the expanisve international and chronological scope of the Surrealist movement, and includes the painting Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943).


“Surrealistic Creatures” at the Max Ernst Museum Brühl is devoted to a fantastical world of animals and imagined creatures.  On view through February 6, 2022, the exhibition comprises works by 70 international artists in all media from the birth of Surrealism throughout the 20th century, including the paintings La Chienne et sa muse (The Dog and Her Muse) (1964) and Pour Gustave l'adoré (1974).


“Jagna Ciuchta: The Fold of the Cosmic Belly” is on view at the Bétonsalon Center for Art and Research, Paris through November 27, 2021.  Ciuchta describes her inspiration for the works she has drawn together in an interview with Cécile Archambeaud, Director of Centre of art image/imatge, Orthez, which hosted the first phase of the exhibition: "the ideas this title evokes are not new (or not all of them) in my exhi­bi­tions. They res­onate within all the other invited works. The belly is an energy centre and an inter­sec­tion of desires, sex­u­ality, breath, diges­tion, all kinds of plea­sures, mater­nity, emo­tions and bil­lions of bac­teria. It is a cave with its own ecosystem and art his­tory, a living con­tainer, a cosmos in its own right, a site of trans­for­ma­tion. I like the idea that the exhi­bi­tion is a belly. There are folds, places where iden­ti­ties overlap, improb­able con­ti­gu­i­ties, secrets, pas­sages that open onto other dimen­sions. The cosmic rein­forces our link to the Earth and to every­thing beyond us. But it also thrusts this title (and the exhi­bi­tion) into a fan­tas­tical fic­tion, which I hope, makes us smile.”  The exhibition includes the drawing Étude pour Cousins (1971).


“Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art” is open at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky through January 2, 2022. With works such as Guardian Angels (1946) the show takes a broad inter-disciplinary, multicultural, and multimedia view of the supernatural and paranormal in artists' work from the early 19th century through the present. After Louisville, it will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which organized the exhibition.


"Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity," is on view at Museum Barberini in Potsdam through January 29, 2022. 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.


"Fantasy Figures: Surrealist Works on Paper from the Art Center’s Collection" is on view at the Des Moines Art Center through March 20, 2022.  This exhibition explores transformational visions of the human body in drawings, collages, and prints dating mainly from the 1930s to the 1960s, and includes the works L'Auberge (1949) and Drawing for Musical Chairs (1949).


“Dorothea Tanning: Printmaker” at Farleys House & Gallery, the historic home of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose in Muddles Green, East Sussex, has been postponed until Summer 2022. The exhibition will focus on the artist's graphic works, presented in a setting she knew well from numerous visits to see her friends the Penroses. Among the works will be the etching Nue Couchée (Reclining Nude) (1965).



New In Print

Catriona McAra has 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.


Adrian Dannatt has published Doomed and Famous: Selected Obituaries through Sequence Press (2021).  The collection includes his piece "Grande Dame in Eternal Exile: Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)" that appeared on (February 16, 2012).  


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.


The editors of ARTnews have chosen Dorothea Tanning's memoir Between Lives: An Artist and Her World (W.W. Norton, New York, 2001) among "Essential Books: 12 Illuminating Artist’s Memoirs."


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.


Claire-Louise Bennett's Fish Out of Water is published by Juxta Press as one of its Words for Portraits series of essays and short stories by English- and Italian-language authors based a portrait of their choice. Drawing inspiration from the painting Self-Portrait (1944), the book is a meditation on the affinity the author finds with the artist in her life and work. The author can be heard speaking about the book in an interview What the Hell/Heaven Are We Doing? Claire-Louise Bennett.


Craig Teicher writes of his personal experience with the artist and "The Later Work of Dorothea Tanning" for "The Daily" blog of The Paris Review.


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)