While many creative people pass away far too young, that’s not the case for Dorothea Tanning, known as “the last living Surrealist,” who has sadly passed away at the age of 101. Tanning’s work was another major inspiration for our Fall Winter 2012 line.
Born in Galesburg, IL, Tanning was working as a commercial illustrator in NY until she visited a surrealist show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936 and decided to become a serious painter. Her career took off after she met another surrealist, Max Ernst, which led to her first solo show and a 30 year marriage. The two lived and worked together until his death in 1976, after which Tanning went on to become a sculptor and then a noted novelist and poet.
Some of Tanning’s works are on display at the LACMA “In Wonderland” exhibit, including “Birthday,” a self-portrait considered among her best pieces.
Along with work by other surrealists, including Leonora Carrington, Tanning’s paintings also served as inspiration for Madonna’s Music Video “Bedtime story,” directed by Mark Romanek, who decided to use surrealist motifs after meeting with the Super Bowl singer in a hotel room where she had installed a surrealist work from her art collection.
See the 1:02 mark for reference to Tanning’s sunflower image from a 1943 piece called “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”