In her own words...

What can I tell you, O gentle art lovers, O kindly dreamers? Is some help needed? Doesn't the paint say it all? What am I after? A long time ago I said I want to seduce by means of imperceptible passages from one reality to another. The viewer is caught in a net from which the only escape is by going through the whole picture until the exit is found. My dearest wish: to make a trap with no exit at all either for you or for me.
             – Dorothea Tanning, 1986


"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 includes the lithograph Deuxième péril from the portfolio Les 7 périls spectraux (1950).

“Surrealism and Beyond” at Die Galerie, Frankfurt, is open through November 2, 2019. The show focuses on Max Ernst, his friends and family, and includes the collage Table of Contents (1988).

"Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein" is on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 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).

The painting Tableau vivant (Living Picture) (1954) is featured in “Beyond Realism: Dada and Surrealism,” at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh through October 25, 2020. The exhibition celebrates the Gallery's world-famous permanent collection as it explores the two principal forms of Surrealist work, unpremeditated art that relies upon chance effects of process and imagery that appears irrational or dreamlike but is rendered in a realistic style. The Gallery has recently purchased Tableau vivant (Living Picture) (1954) with help from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and Art Fund in 2019.

“The Enchanted Interior” is on view at The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle through February 22, 2020.  The exhibition examines depictions of the interior as a ‘gilded cage’ in which women are pictured as ornamental objects – a popular theme in 19th-century painting – together with images that challenge and subvert the idealization of women as captive damsels or passive beauties.  Along with 20th-century and contemporary works, the show features the 1943 painting Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

“Fantastic Women” will be on view at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt from February 13 through May 24, 2020.  The exhibition will present over 260 works by 35 international female artists to reveal the underrecognized breadth and depth of their contri­bu­tion to Surre­alism.  Among the works will be the painting Voltage (1942).



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 examines 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)