For Surrealist painters Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy, love wasn’t a rose garden. More like an alien landscape.


And in four years, Sage (1898-1963) and Tanguy (1900-1955) married and survived the Surrealist belief that there was no coincidence. The title of the mysterious picture was “I am waiting for you”.

There are many famous art couples. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock; Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, to name a few. But this quiet surrealist pair flew under the radar. Unlike Dali and Milo, neither became a common name.And, according to Sage, they “dislike”[d] The idea of ​​being a terrible team. In 1954, they agreed to a joint exhibition at the Wasworth Ateneum Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. However, their paintings are subject to display in separate galleries.

But today, their work has been reintegrated and exhibited together in museums across the country, including the National Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Sage’s paintings are more architectural and more biomorphic of Tanguy, but the unrealistic places they capture-impossiblely vast plains, empty but full of sensations-are languages. And distill the feelings that lack logic. Seen together, their work is a testament to the harmonious yet tragic experience of the encounter of two vibrant inner worlds.

Relationships, especially during this period, are often reduced to marketable truths. Love is glorifying with flashy social media posts and all-purpose cards.I found a shelter from Sage and Tanguy’s commercialism and clichés capture something more honest about love in their art and relationships.

For example, in the year they got married, Sage described it as “I have no shadow.” The narrow, dark passage leads to two little figures standing on the sky horizon, as if pulled out of ether and paired forever. A rigorous image of anxiety and hope that evokes a vast and defenseless sense of new romance.

Both Sage and Tanguy were influenced by the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, but developed their own style. Sage’s signature canvas invites you to a carefully designed apocalyptic vision. There are no swirling textiles, sturdy towers or bridges anywhere. It suggests a quiet “after” when the function is lost.

In contrast, Tanguy seems to be capturing the primitive. Scholars liken images of his biological morphology to the ancient rock formations of his hometown of Brittany. Looking at them, Words are stuck at the tip of my tongue.

Throughout the careers of Sage and Tanguy, sexism hampered a close comparison of their work. The 2011-2012 show “Double Solitaire: The Surreal World of Casesage and Yves Tanguy” at the Katonah Museum in New York and the Mint Museum in Charlotte shared the exhibition for the first time since 1954.

In an essay in the catalog, curator Jonathan Sturman elaborated on the effects of sage on tangy. His form approached the viewer. He started using tall people (Stuhlman calls them “people”). And the foamy shape of his early works calcified into a hard structure. Even his palette was faded to the understated olive, khaki and gray of sage, symbolized by her “I Saw Three Cities” (1944). Place Tanguy’s 1929 painting “Amber’s Facial Expression” next to later works such as “The Mirage of Time” (1954) and “Indefinite Dividability” (1942) to see his evolution. can do.

After first seeing Sage’s work in 1938, Tanguy recalled: She knew that the painting was very good. They were introduced by a common friend and soon became a couple. While Europe was on the verge of war, Sage, who lived in Paris, returned to the United States to establish the European Cultural Conservation Society and bring French artists to the United States. Among them were Surrealist leader André Breton and, of course, Tanguy. Sage and Tanguy married in 1940, and a year later moved to Connecticut, not far from fellow artists Alexander Calder and Arshile Gorky.

Artist Roberto Matta saw the struck pair while some friends said they were uneasy about their partnership. “They even had a happy fight. They invented the humor of the fight,” he said. They went everywhere together, shared the studio and spoke only French. “Everything but Eve was wiped out,” Sage said.

Through art, they often recorded their lives together. They exchanged paintings when they got married, and Tanguy created several works titled “Pour Kay”. In 1947, Sage painted “The Ring of Iron, the Ring of Wool”. This could refer to the traditional gifts of the 6th and 7th wedding anniversary. In this work, one of the two triangular shapes stands near the sea. Perhaps it nods to Tanguy’s deep connection with foreign countries. After Tanguy died suddenly in 1955, Sage said, “There will never be tomorrow.” The tall dark tower traps the twisted sheets. This is a repetitive motif that she usually flutters freely.

Space and constriction in the art of sage and tangy may speak to their lives, balancing a strong connection to artistic independence.

One of Tanguy’s favorite paintings, “The Hunted Sky” (1951), was adorned in the living room. It shows the abstract heads of two megaliths composed of the same small organic shape. From one point of view, the numbers seem to be integrated into one. From another, they face each other and appear to freeze with an eternal mysterious gaze.

Sage described their bond as “two beings fused into one dazzling whole.” It’s similar to seeing their work: you have to abandon reason and succumb to another mysterious realm. Understanding it is like really wanting to know someone else. There are no endpoints or takeaways, just lifelong learning.


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