Yves Tanguy

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Maverick artist Yves Tanguy was the quintessential Surrealist painter inhabiting a world which he viewed from his own imaginative eye. He famously stated that his art is something which even he never truly tries to understand for he would become so lost in it. Despite his eccentricity the French Born American painter was quite social in the Parisian art scene and his famous buddies included Andre Breton. Tanguy’s quirky style captured the hyper realism of everyday like objects with superb precision. Famous artists like Salvador Dali and Mark Rothko credit Tanguy as their main inspiration.  Most of Tanguy’s work consists of misshapen rocks and surfaces, the very aesthetics of Surrealism during that era but captured in his quirky artistic manner. Tanguy didn’t believe much in the ideology or theory of artistic movements nor in engaging views on art with other fellow artists.

Born as Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy in Paris France in 1900 to a naval officer, and his wife who were both of Breton origin. After the sudden demise of his father his mother moved Tanguy to the south of France. Much of his youth was spent moving from one relative to another, he enrolled in the merchant navy and after that period he moved to Paris where he worked odd jobs before coming across a painting by Giorgio de Chirico. Despite his lack of formal art training Tanguy decided to take up painting as a full time passion. No doubt he lacked the formal training most artists had Tanguy quickly developed a strong sense of artistic aesthetic and his own mature style of painting. Soon he developed a strong social circle and after the success of his first solo exhibition in Paris, the following years saw Tanguy’s work grace the galleries of London, New York, Brussels and Paris. Tanguy’s art of this era reflect work which is timeless as well as dreamlike in a sense. The landscapes found in his work are often formless and Tanguy painted these with a lot of care and precision. Most of his work of this time is seen as quite spontaneous and fluid in nature, almost as if he didn’t care about his painting being liked or not.  A move to America in the 1930s with his then girlfriend, who eventually became his wife, opened a new horizon for Tanguy. Soon his paintings became more colorful and started developing a more metallic characteristic. Like most Surrealists of those times Tanguy had a deep connection with the dream world and the unconscious. Despite this common factor associated with other Surrealist artists, what used to set him apart from the others was the natural precision with which he painted.

In fact Yves Tanguy has been credited for being the first Surrealist artist to show how vivid and vast the unconscious is via his paintings. With most of Tanguy’s work what the viewer sees is a start connection to some of the artist’s childhood memories of growing up in the South of France. One can easily tell that even at that age he was gifted with a wild and creative mind.

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