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Yves Tanguy Biography


French painter Yves Tanguy, was a surrealist. Tanguy spent a short time in the merchant navy and the Army. During this time, he became friends with Jacques Prévert. After his military service he returned to Paris working odd jobs. It was here that he saw a painting by Giorgio de Chirico. He was so deeply touched and impressed with this piece of work, that he decided to become a painter himself despite not having any formal training.

Tanguy became totally consumed by whichever painting he was working on at the time. This is possibly because his studio was extremely small, only having enough room inside for one piece. Tanguy became involved with a circle of surrealist artists and quickly developed his unique painting style. He put on his first exhibition in Paris in 1927, and in the same year he married his first wife Jeannette Ducrocq. Tanguy became very busy at this time and took a contract of 12 paintings a year from Breton. The fixed income brought Tanguy to paint much less than anticipated and in the end he created only eight pieces for Breton.

In 1930, some of Tanguy’s work was destroyed by right-wing activists along with works by Dalí, Joan Miró, Man Ray, and others. Tanguy often used statements made by patients in psychiatric textbooks as titles for his paintings. The paintings themselves have distinctive limited colour palettes and usually show barren abstract landscapes, with occasional flashes of contrasting colors. The landscapes tend to include abstract shapes.

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