February 9th, 2012

interior with sudden joy: the last surrealist

"Precision is her mystery. Thus she acquired the faculty of leading us with the surety of the somnambulist through the real world as well as through the imagined world. Because in her work the flames of the earth burn with a quiet, continuous and smiling passion, one can give to it a dominant place among the most authentic, most unfettered expressions of surrealism."
- max ernst describing the work of Dorothea Tanning. http://www.dorotheatanning.org/

dorothea tanning was born in illinois in 1910. after studying painting in chicago she took off for nyc in the early 40s. there she came into contact with the surrealist artists who had been forced to flee occupied france. she remains one of the most important not just the longest lived of the surrealist artists.

"S.M.: You don't think Surrealism is viable now? As a way or life?

There are certainly a lot of aspects that are still viable of course. Surrealism is inspired by elements other than materialism and that is what is very hard to find today. People don't give themselves a chance to find out anything else about themselves. They just want what's there, and quick.

S.M.: You have had a long life, a long career as an artist: You've known some extraordinary people. What do you think of the Art world now?

I sometimes wonder if people could have the sort or exciting life that I've had now because there was a certain innocence about it too. I think that it s very hard to find that kind of innocence around anywhere today. Everything is so cynical. Everything is so material. People do things for the wrong reasons. They don't do it for wide-eyed reasons.

–from interview with Simon Morley, "Dorothea Tanning: The Art in Being Surreal," Art Line International 4, no. 9 (1990), p. 43."

"It is my sad duty to announce that Dorothea Tanning has passed away. She died peacefully in her home in New York City on January 31. She was 101 years old. "
- http://www.dorotheatanning.org/index.php

Interior with Sudden Joy 1951