Stay, You Must

About Yves Tanguy

A glimpse of Giorgio de Chirico’s painting Child’s Skull (1914) through a gallery window so profoundly affected Yves Tanguy, it prompted him to pick up a paintbrush. Self-taught, he befriended and drew inspiration from André Breton (and later Alexander Calder), joining the Surrealist movement and consistently representing one of the purest strains of the style. Initially, his love of nature, especially the sea, led Tanguy to paint hazy sea creatures and aquatic vegetation, yet he is best known for his sparse, abstract landscapes populated by biomorphic shapes and painted in somber hues. Though often horizonless, some of his landscapes hint at the rocky coast of his native Brittany, with its Neolithic structures, and at geological formations encountered on trips to Tunisia and the American Southwest. Solemnity permeates his work, in contrast to the playfulness expressed by many of his fellow Surrealists.

French, 1900-1955, Paris, France