03 February 2012

Requiescat in Pace - Dorothea Tanning

Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning by Lee Miller

Surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning died at age 101. She is one of my favorite artists.

Voltage, 1942

Her memoir, Birthday, was called "an enchanting, succulent book" by Susan Sontag. I cannot think of a better description.

She remained a powerhouse her entire life, holding up to the scrutiny of having a famous artist husband, Max Ernst. I once contacted Tanning about participating in a book on women's creativity. She was adamant that she did not want to have anything to do with "feminist" writings. (Actually, they were just creative women, not feminist women, but as you can see, she was adamant.)

Birthday, 1942. Self-Portrait

I think the world was a better place with Tanning in it. She will be missed.

Reclining Nude 1969-70


  1. Would you know why she was opposed to "feminism", and, if so, what that word connoted to her?

  2. I haven't a clue. It was a book on women's creativity. My thought is that she did not want to be singled out as a "woman" artist.

  3. That's an understandable point of view. Though I studied a considerable amount of art history in school, women who produced art were not much discussed.I will have to do a bit of research on Tanning and her work. Thank you for your response.


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