Yves Tanguy: Decoding Surrealism



On the 5th of January 1900, the French surrealist painter Yves Tanguy was born in Paris. The journey that led him to his eventual profession as a painter can be described as one worthy of any decent surrealist. In 1918, Tanguy started working for the merchant navy; he was then drafted into the Army, but in 1922, he decided to return to Paris, where he did various odd jobs, until his life-transforming epiphany. According to the artist’s recollections, the major impulse to start drawing came after seeing one of de Chirico’s paintings. This sudden urge to become an artist came then as much from Tanguy’s unconscious as the subjects of his later works, making of him one of the greatest representatives of Surrealism. “In that his art relies above all on ‘surprise’, blind chance, involuntary memory and stream-of-unconsciousness…” whilst on the other hand there is “a single-minded devotion…

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