Yves Tanguy (French, 1900-1955)
oil on canvas, Framed: 105.4 x 93.3 x 2.2 cm (41 1/2 x 36 11/16 x 7/8 in.); Unframed: 80 x 65.4 cm (31 7/16 x 25 11/16 in.). John L. Severance Fund 2009.78
One of the most important and influential members of the Surrealist movement, Tanguy painted this classic, early Surrealist composition in 1928, only four years after the movement's founding and two years after he developed his mature style. It depicts a series of mysterious forms floating in a dark, dreamlike landscape. Although the objects may suggest rocks, plants, internal organs, or menacing creatures, their precise nature has been left deliberately ambiguous and mysterious. It is the very ambiguity of such forms that renders them so evocative and psychologically disturbing.While the setting may suggest the ocean floor or a lunar landscape, close inspection reveals that this "landscape" is a fictitious invention that could only exist in the irrational, dream world of the unconscious.
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