Classed as “the most surrealist of the Surrealists” by André Breton, the driving force behind this artistic movement, Yves Tanguy (Paris, 1900 – Woodbury, Connecticut, 1955) is today one of its representatives least-known to the public at large.
A sailor and a self-taught painter, Tanguy began his career in France, but he established his reputation as an artist in the United States, where he emigrated in 1939 and lived until his death.
Most of his work is conserved in museums in the United States, and is now being shown in the Museu Nacional in what is the first major retrospective dedicated to this French artist to be seen in Spain.
The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Quimper, comprises over two hundred and fifty pieces. About fifty of his paintings, the most important part of his work, are exhibited, from the early post-Cubist and Expressionist works of 1924 to Multiplication of the Arcs, painted shortly before he died. The discourse of the exhibition is completed with a large number of pieces from his graphic work: washes, engravings, “automatic drawings” and “exquisite cadavers”, Surrealist games that Tanguy shared with friends of his like Joan Miró, André Breton or Jacques Prévert. Books and magazines of the time illustrated by Tanguy, photographs by Man Ray or Dora Maar and other unpublished documentation help to contextualize the painter's Surrealist universe.
Valuable works have been loaned for the exhibition by public and private institutions all over the world, and by many private collections. This is a unique opportunity to see the work of one of the great names from the art world of the first half of the 20th century.
As the exhibition's curator André Cariou, chief curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Quimper, points out, “Yves Tanguy, the greatest French Surrealist painter, classed as a Surrealist painter par excellence, is still unknown today. Without doubt, the general public appreciates the images à la Magritte or the extravagances à la Dalí more, but the favour of the connoisseurs remains intact… His work continues to fascinate all those who are prepared to delve into it".