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Yves Tanguy
(1900-1955)

- Born in Paris, France on January 5, 1900, Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy was the son of a retired Navy captain. At the age of eight, his father died, forcing his mother to return to her home in Locronan, Finistère, where Tanguy was raised by various relatives.

After a stint in the merchant marine and service in the Army, Tanguy returned to Paris. It was there that he first saw a painting by Giorgio de Chirico, an Italian-Greek surreal artist. The painting inspired him to make his own attempt at painting, despite his lack of formal training in the art.

In 1924, through friend Jacques Prévert, Tanguy was introduced to Andre Bréton and the circle of surrealist artists, and he held his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1927. He quickly adopted the lifestyle of the starving Bohemian artist, and this eventually led to the break-up of his first marriage. It was during this period, however, that he saw the work of artist Kay Sage, and he quickly fell in love with the art and the artist, leading to his second marriage.

During World War II, Sage returned to her native New York, and because he had been deemed unfit for military service, Tanguy was able to join her. In 1948, Tanguy became a naturalized American citizen, and he and his wife converted an old Connecticut farmhouse into an artists’ studio.

On January 15, 1955, Tanguy suffered a stroke that claimed his life at his home in Woodbury, Connecticut. Not wishing to be parted from his wife and soul mate even in death, Tanguy’s cremated remains were preserved until Sage’s passing in 1963. It was upon her death that the artist Pierre Matisse scattered the ashes of the devoted couple on a beach in Brittany.

Tanguy’s work has a unique, nonrepresentational style of surrealism. He was known for his vast landscapes, limited color palette, and abstract shapes.

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