Art on This Day
Indefined Divisibility,1942 by Yves Tanguy.
On this day in 1900, a French surrealist painter Yves Tanguy was born.
Tanguy, the son of a retired navy captain, was born at the Ministry of Naval Affairs on Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. In 1918, Tanguy briefly joined the merchant navy before being drafted into the Army. At the end of his military service in 1922, he returned to Paris, where he worked various odd jobs. He stumbled upon a painting by Giorgio de Chirico and was so deeply impressed he resolved to become a painter himself in spite of his complete lack of formal training.
In around 1924 Tanguy was introduced into the circle of surrealist artists around André Breton. Tanguy quickly began to develop his own unique painting style, giving his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1927. Throughout the 1930s, Tanguy adopted the bohemian lifestyle. He had an intense affair with Peggy Guggenheim in 1938 when he went to London with his wife Jeannette Ducroq to hang his first retrospective exhibition in Britain at her gallery Guggenheim Jeune.
Toilette de L'Air, 1937 by Yves Tanguy
The exhibition was a great success and Guggenheim purchased his pictures Toilette de L'Air and Le Soleil dans son écrin for her collection.
In 1938, after seeing the work of fellow artist Kay Sage, Tanguy began a relationship with her that would eventually lead to his second marriage. With the outbreak of World War II, Sage moved back to her native New York, and Tanguy, judged unfit for military service, followed her. He would spend the rest of his life in the United States.
Tanguy's paintings have a unique, immediately recognizable style of nonrepresentational surrealism. 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 sombre 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.
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