Nue Couchée by Dorothea Tanning

Nue Couchée by Dorothea Tanning Nue Couchée1969-70SculptureCotton textile, cardboard, 7 table tennis balls, wool and threadTate, London, UK A sculptural piece, Nue Couchée introduces Tanning’s weighty, contorted, and headless figures. The work stands in defiant subversion to the languid reclining female sitter of classical painting, confronting outdated fantasy projections of the female body by presenting … Continue reading Nue Couchée by Dorothea Tanning

Birthday by Dorothea Tanning

Birthday by Dorothea Tanning Birthday1942SurrealismOil on canvasPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA A seminal work for Tanning, ‘Birthday’ saw her noticed by artists such as Max Ernst, and placed her strong individuality on the artistic map whilst introducing the motifs that would recur throughout her career. Painting herself in the foreground of a room that … Continue reading Birthday by Dorothea Tanning

Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp

Nude Descending A Staircase by Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending A Staircase1912SurrealismOil on canvasPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Collection of Louise and Walter Arenberg, USA The painting met with an unfavourable response at the Salon des Indépendants, dominated by Cubist avant-garde who objected to its Futurist leanings. However, it enjoyed a succes de scandale at the Armory … Continue reading Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp

Noyer Indifférent by Yves Tanguy

Noyer Indifférent by Yves Tanguy Noyer Indifférent1929SurrealismOil on canvasPrivately owned The provenance of Noyer Indifférent exemplifies the reciprocal play between Surrealism and psychoanalysis. Freud’s protégé, Carl Jung, an important influence on the Surrealists, purchased the work in 1929, when Tanguy was barely known. Jung described the painting as an archetypal sign of the heavens connecting … Continue reading Noyer Indifférent by Yves Tanguy

La Joconde aux Cles (Mona Lisa with Keys) by Fernand Léger

La Joconde aux Cles by Fernand Léger La Joconde aux Cles (Mona Lisa with Keys)1930SurrealismOil on canvasMusée National Fernand Léger, Biot, France One of Lèger’s most experimental canvases, La Jaconde aux Cles is one of the few in which the influence of Surrealism is revealed. Without support, the depicted objects float in space as in … Continue reading La Joconde aux Cles (Mona Lisa with Keys) by Fernand Léger

I Saw Three Cities by Kay Sage

I Saw Three Cities1944SurrealismOil on canvasPrinceton University Art Museum, New Jersey, USA A desolate, geometric landscape dominated by a tail, cloaked guardian in the foreground. The human figure is composed of a central pole and swirling drapery. Fluid and animated drapery gives a feeling of movement and wind blowing through the fabric made figure contrasting … Continue reading I Saw Three Cities by Kay Sage

Henry Ford Hospital by Frida Kahlo

Henry Ford Hospital1932SurrealismOil on canvasDolores Olmedo Collection, Mexico City, Mexico Many of Kahlo’s paintings from the early 1930s relate to religious ex-voto paintings of which she and Rivera possessed a large collection ranging over several centuries. Ex-votos paintings are a gesture of gratitude for salvation, a granted prayer or an averted disaster and are left … Continue reading Henry Ford Hospital by Frida Kahlo

I Am My Own Muse

Artist: Frida Kahlo Born: 6 July 1907, Mexico City, Mexico Nationality: Mexican Movement: Naïve art, Modern art, Surrealism, Magical Realism, Symbolism, Naturalism, Primitivism, Social realism, Cubism Died: 13 July 1954, Mexico City, Mexico...

Nightview, New York by Berenice Abbott

Nightview, New York1932SurrealismGelatin silver printCollection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, USA In this 1932 photograph by Abbott the white lights in the buildings and headlights of cars contrast starkly with the solid structures of the buildings that dominate the city. Abbot captured New York at night as a representation of the … Continue reading Nightview, New York by Berenice Abbott

Mama, Papa is Wounded! By Yves Tanguy

Mama, Papa is Wounded!1927SurrealismOil on CanvasMuseum of Modern Art, New York, USA The vast space, pale palette, and dark shadows cast by airborne objects in the eerie light evoke a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Typical of the correlation between words and images in Surrealism, the title does nothing to clarify the meaning of the work, in fact … Continue reading Mama, Papa is Wounded! By Yves Tanguy

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Dorothea Tanning

A relatively early work by Tanning, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is painted with figurative perfection and a looseness to Surrealists themes. Inspired by the Mozart’s composition of the same title the setting is a hallway of a large house or a hotel. The painting is a dreamy image of two young girls, one who has found a giant sunflower and the other with eyes closed holding one of the petals. Three doors are firmly closed whilst one is cracked to reveal a bright light...

Tempête en Jaune (Tempest in Yellow) by Dorothea Tanning

Art permeates through Tanning’s life; not only has her work become worthwhile art, her presence transformed photographs to make them more artistic. The spirals of energy that followed her as a person is also found in her brushstrokes. Her work evolved into abstraction and sculpture. The fold lines of fabric, linking the different phases, as cloth transforms depiction to media. In later years, she emerged as poet...

20th Century Avant-Garde

Surrealism is the channelling of the sub-conscious that unlocks the power of the imagination. It is the belief that the conscious, rational mind represses the power of imagination and creativity with perceived reality and the taboos of society. The psyche within sub-conscious thought acts as a revelation, exposing the incongruities of everyday living, life and the world around us, and by doing so inspires conscious revolution. As with Romanticism this emphasis was on the power of personal imagination, but Surrealists believed that revelation could be found in the everyday world. The interest in primitivism and myth combined with tapping into the unconscious mind inspired many later movements and styles that remain influential today.