Apr 7, 2006

Plein Ciel

Plein Ciel


Yves Tanguy

(French, 1900–1955)

Etching and aquatint

Support: Laid paper

Sheet: 33.4 x 25.3 cm (13 1/8 x 9 15/16 in.); Platemark: 17.3 x 12.5 cm (6 13/16 x 4 15/16 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland in memory of Robert P. Bergman 2000.8

Catalogue raisonné: Wittrock 12; only 2-3 known impressions



Influenced by the writings of psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the Surrealists wanted to expand awareness beyond conscious, rational thought to the subconscious realm of ideas, perceptions, and creative impulses. To gain access to the subconscious, they used dream imagery and free-association techniques, including automatic drawing (letting the hand draw without conscious direction). Artists like Tanguy and Kurt Seligmann, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe, brought Surrealism to New York, Tanguy's work reveals the domain of the imagination through visionary, dreamlike imagery. Mysterious forms, often related to bones or sexual organs, float in a ambiguously vast and otherworldly expanse. These fantastic stone and bonelike biomorphic forms (based on shapes found in nature) were inspired by the curious cliff formations he saw during a trip to Africa in 1930-31, and by the prehistoric dolmens and menhirs (monumental stone sculptures) of Brittany, where he spent many vacations.

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