Feb 25, 2008

A Bird in the Room

A Bird in the Room


Kay Sage

(American, 1898–1963)

Oil on canvas

Unframed: 99.1 x 81.3 cm (39 x 32 in.)

Bequest of Kay Sage Tanguy 1964.340

Did you know?

To maintain her own identity, Sage often refused to exhibit with her husband, also an artist.


Sage created this work, one of her most somber and desolate, shortly after the death of her husband, Yves Tanguy (1900–1955), who was also an esteemed Surrealist painter. The title likely refers to the folk legend that says a wild bird flying into a house is a premonition of death—an actual event that Sage experienced shortly before Tanguy passed away. Although for most of her career she was a prolific artist, Sage increasingly lost her momentum and inspiration during widowhood. Unable to endure living with her loss, she became reclusive and depressed, eventually succeeding in her second attempt at suicide by shooting herself in the heart.


What a Bird in the Room Means
Kay Sage and Surrealism
See also
American - Painting
Type of artwork: 
Oil on canvas

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