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Yves Tanguy

Todd Powelson
Second Thoughts

If you’ve read many of my Sunday art history ramblings, it probably won’t come as a surprise when I say European Surrealism produced some of my favorite paintings and painters during the ’20s through ’40s. I’ve already written about two of my favorite Metaphysical/Dada/Surrealist painters, Giorgio de Chirico and Max Ernst. If their was a third to round out and create a trinity of talent, I’d have to include Yves Tanguy.

Mama, Papa is Wounded

It was during my high school senior year on a trip to San Francisco, where I just kind of wandered around the city visiting as many galleries as possible, that I found myself in the SFMOMA standing in front of a Tanguy. I became a fan for life.

At that time, I did as much research on the life and career of Tanguy as I was able. There was surprisingly very little to be found. In those pre-internet days, I relied on the library and book stores for much of my art history research and education. It wasn’t until 2001 or so that I finally found a book about Tanguy and his work called “Yves Tanguy and Surrealism“. It is still a treasure in my library.

Reply to Red

Tanguy’s life was spent making artwork. Most of what I’ve read about Tanguy deals with his thoughts and theories about Surrealism and art. He was one of Dada and Surrealism’s original pioneers. Something I find interesting is that Tanguy decided to become a painter when he was riding a bus through Paris and spotted a painting by de Chirico in a gallery window called “The Child’s Brain“. Tanguy got off at the next stop, ran back up to the gallery to see the painting again, and stood there staring and deciding on the course his life would take. When I look at the work of Tanguy I can see de Chirico’s influence, especially in de Chirico’s empty landscapes  and paintings of mannequins, although Tanguy definitely developed his own style.

Slowly Towards the North

There is a quote from Tanguy that I love, and I think it describes his work perfectly:

“I’m tempted to paint the things behind the hill, the things I will never see.” | Tanguy | Tanguy

Multiplication of the Arcs
Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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