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Influenced by the Surrealists she surrounded herself with (including her husband Max Ernst), Dorothea Tanning developed a distinct style of figuration that she would continue to practice for decades. Tanning’s work has seen a particularly renewed interest since the artist’s passing last winter at the age of 101.

About Dorothea Tanning

An active artist for nearly 70 years, Dorothea Tanning began her career as a Surrealist, later moving away from the movement to create the raw and prismatic merging of color planes she called “Insomnias”. Tanning’s earlier works, like Fatala (1947), are heavily representational, favoring strong line, shading, and linear perspective. In the 1950s, she began to reveal new overriding preoccupations with luminous color and energy, as in Midi et demi (Half past noon) (1957), a quietly energetic composition with only the vaguest hints of figures. Tanning, who was influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Max Ernst, to whom she was married, turned increasingly to experimental styles as her career progressed, such as soft cloth sculpture and installation, fusing the two for one of her first installation pieces, “Hotel de Pavot 202” (1971), without fully abandoning a surrealistic aesthetic. Late in her career she worked as a poet and memoirist.

American, 1910-2012, Galesburg, Illinois, based in New York & Paris