Dorothea Tanning

Dorothea TanningOn this day in 1910, the great surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning was born. Sadly, she is probably better known as Max Ernst’s wife than as a painter. But her work is amazing. And she was basically a self-taught artist, which is remarkable given the classical aspects of her work. Before she was recognized for her serious work, she supported herself as a commercial artist in New York.

I called her work surreal, but that’s only because that is what she is best known for. Her later work is more abstract. I can see the the surrealism in it, but probably just because I know her earlier work. It is supremely confident and beautiful. She was also a poet and short story writer. You can read more about that and see an example of her later work in, With Our Souls in Our Laps.

Tanning only died two years ago at the age of 101. You can check out a number of her works at, ArtOdyssey. Here is one of my favorite of her paintings:

Surreal Painting - Dorothea Tanning

Happy birthday Dorothea Tanning!

2 thoughts on “Dorothea Tanning

  1. I have no idea what’s going on with this painting. Something like a pubescent girl making love to her earlier selves? Striking though. It reminds me of some SF paperback covers from the 1960’s.

    • It does have a pulp quality! I don’t see it as sexual. I get the idea of birth (which certainly has a sexual element). But it seems more like the opposite: that the figures are trying to get back inside. Not knowing is the best part, though!

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