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Yves Tanguy

Yves Tanguy

(1900 - 1955)
Born: Paris, France
Style: Surrealism
Famous Works:
  • Toilette de l'Air (1937)
  • Indefinite Divisibility (1942)
  • The Invisibles (1951)
Yves Tanguy's path to art was an unusual one. Tanguy seemed to have little direction as a young man, growing up with various members of his family after his father died and his mother left him when he was just eight years old. After spending four years in the French army, Tanguy returned to Paris, the city of his birth, and worked several jobs. Tanguy made the decision to pursue art when he was inspired by one of Giorgio de Chirico's Surrealist paintings. Tanguy was introduced to members of the Surrealist movement by Jacques Prévert, a surrealist writer whom he had met in the army, and was quickly taken under the wing of Surrealist leader André Breton. Tanguy joined the French movement, and his work was exhibited in 1927 in his first one-man show. Sigmund Freud influenced his paintings, like many of his colleagues. Tanguy aspired to portray fantasy-like scenes of absurd and imagined figures. He painted with exceptional precision, executing canvases filled with small, detailed objects on broad, cloud-like expanses. By painting these landscapes he felt he was achieving a method of recording the activity of the unconscious. Tanguy married Kay Sage, an American Surrealist, and moved to the United States in 1940. His work was shown in New York galleries. In particular, he was included in Pierre Matisse's show "Artists in Exile". Matisse was the son of French Impressionist Henri Matisse, and a childhood friend of Tanguy. This landmark show established the work of artists from the European continent among American collectors and critics. Following the end of the Second World War, Tanguy enjoyed considerable fame and acclaim, with one-man exhibitions in Rome, Paris, and Milan.
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