Yves TANGUY (1900-1955)
Elle viendra, 1950.
Oil on canvas.
Titled, dated and handwritten mentions on the back.
46 x 35.5 cm.
Oil on canvas, titled and dated on the back. 18.1 x 13.9 in.
Collection Marie-Louise and Jehan Mayoux.
Then by descent to the present owner.
Pierre Matisse, Yves Tanguy, Un Recueil de ses œuvres, New York, Pierre Matisse, 1963, reproduced page 177 n°413.
Of Breton origin, son of a military man, nothing predestines Yves Tanguy to the career we know him. Through chance encounters, he was first introduced to painting by Henri Matisse's son, Pierre, a future New York gallery owner, whom he met at the Montaigne high school. Then during his military service in Lunéville in 1920, he became friends with Jacques Prévert.
But it was really in 1923 that his destiny took shape, captivated by a painting by Giorgio de Chirico: "The Brain of the Child", then exhibited in the window of the Paul Guillaume gallery. He will be a painter.
Entirely self-taught, his first works are figurative (he will destroy a lot of them) but very soon he develops a very personal repertoire and style, perhaps first influenced by Spanish painters, including Miro. His vocabulary, quite quickly fixed, will remain permanent throughout his work. His aestheticism will be constant, timeless, populated with enigmatic forms both "beings-objects" or machines. He himself will agree that his painting is inexplicable.
Yves Tanguy says: "Around 1924, I came across the first issue of the Surrealist Revolution and it interested me a lot. Not so much the works that were reproduced in it but the general spirit of the content". The link with the surrealists was soon to be forged.
During a dinner in 1925 at the Café Cosmos, he became friends with Robert Desnos and soon met Benjamin Péret and Aragon. His greatest friend will be André Breton, his guide and mentor, replacing his father who died very early.
From 1926, one of his works is reproduced in The Surrealist Revolution and his paintings exhibited at the Surrealist Gallery. In 1927 a personal exhibition is dedicated to him. He took part in all the demonstrations of the movement, in the surrealist games and illustrated numerous texts. In spite of everything, his situation remains difficult and he lives with his wife Jeannette in a very modest hotel.
After a trip to North Africa in 1930 and 1931, which is not very well documented, Tanguy paints a series of flat landscapes that occupy a special place. Then he returns to a new organization of his compositions. The forms no longer proliferate but are arranged in alignment in the foreground.
The unfailing friendship between Yves Tanguy and the Mayoux couple began in 1933. Jehan Mayoux makes contact that year with André Breton and Paul Eluard. He takes part in the activities of the surrealists' group, collaborates in magazines and signs the collective texts. In 1935, Tanguy spends his summer holidays with Marie-Louise and Jehan Mayoux.
Declared unfit for mobilization he leaves in 1940 for New York, officially to exhibit at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, unofficially to join the painter Kay Sage whom he met in Paris and who influenced the organization of this exhibition. He married her in 1940. The couple moved to Connecticut. Pierre Matisse provides him with a relative material security thanks to a monthly annuity in addition to the sales. Tanguy's painting is no more successful in the United States than in France. It is far too interior to reach a wide audience.
Yves Tanguy's inner world.
The aim of surrealist painting is not to fix in trompe l'oeil images of dreams, but to express through pictorial means "the functioning of thought" (according to André Breton), which means the unconscious functioning of thought.
Tanguy works the subject no less than his shadow, without really knowing where the light comes from. The shadow underlines the palpable reality of the object, but it is impalpable by nature. It attaches itself to the forms and not to the background, refusing the sky-earth cut. His landscapes do not offer a horizon line. Aerial space and terrestrial space merge. There is only Tanguy's space and within it germinate creatures, "object beings" as Breton will call them. They require all the care of their creator. Tanguy brushes them with delicate attention and great precision. They evoke a mineral world, or petrifications, but always escape all resemblance. Tanguy develops his inner world fed by his childhood memories in Brittany. But it is well and truly the end of identifiable organic survivals, the subtle movement of the beginnings gives way to an immobility that invades the painter's paintings.
The "object beings" grow in number, importance and complexity. Tanguy always works in the same way