Dorothy Tanning Tate Modern London

One of Tanning’s Surrealist paintings

Dorothy Tanning ‘s Surrealist paintings (1910-2012) are very reminiscent of those of one of my favourite painters, Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), her contemporary and also a lover of Max Ernst (1891- 1976), a Dadaist and Surrealist who had left his wife for Dorothy Tanning.

Although I liked several of her surrealist paintings, I much preferred her later paintings, many from her stay at Sedonia, Arizona with Max Ernst – her abstracted ‘prismatic’ style. She wanted her pictures discovered slowly – ‘pictures that would shimmer and that you would discover something new every time you looked at them.’

Avalon (1987). begun in 1984

One of my favourites is ‘Avalon’ – painted over 3 years from 1984-1987 . It  is typical of her abstracted paintings, with parts of bodies and objects emerging from flower-like bursts of white and green.

I found her soft sculptures interesting though not particularly moving. The video at the end of the exhibition is excellent. Highly recommended.

Every time I go to an exhibition I think about taking up painting again – one of the many classes I took at Morley College and CityLit after I retired.

Read about my adventures at Further Education colleges in my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’

Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99


4 thoughts on “Dorothy Tanning Tate Modern London”

  1. I liked this exhibition so much I have been twice. Dorothea Tanning’s later works are a revelation – powerful and lyrical in composition and colour. An amazing body of work that was overdue to be shown. Her soft sculptures made me smile – they are playful and funny, delightfully sinister at times. I agree, Abby, the short video at the end of the exhibition is wonderful. I also liked the huge photograph of the artist that they have displayed outside the gallery. It shows Dorothea Tanning in her studio, wearing a very 50s full skirted dress, hands on hips, smiling broadly. How often do you say an artist beaming? A remarkable woman who lived to 101.
    Thanks for your post, Abby. I loved reading Woman in A White Coat – so full of life and aspects of London evocatively written.

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