This painting by Tanning is unconventional in the genre of self-portraiture, but tells more about the artist and her determination and imagination than a standard portrait could. In this painting, Tanning depicts herself from behind, looking out over the vast Arizona landscape, tiny compared to the enormous rock formations and space around her. Later she wrote of the intention behind the painting: ‘In that camera-sharp place where planetary upheaval had left its signature: the now placid monuments that, as far as anyone out there cared, had been there forever, I would undertake—dare would be a truer word—to paint the unpaintable…. in the studio alone with my dream I would record it like a diary entry, just like that.’
The largest size variation we are able to offer this print in is 45 x 60 cm.
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 61 x 76 cm San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. © DACS, 2018
Dorothea Tanning (1910 – 2012) was an American artist, writer and poet. Aside from three weeks of tuition at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1930, she was entirely self-taught. Although often described as a Surrealist artist, after the 1940s Tanning moved away from surrealist themes and evolved her own personal style. She lived with her fellow artist and husband, Max Ernst, in France from 1949 until Ernst’s death in 1976. In 1980, she moved to New York, and after a decade of studio art there, turned to writing and poetry in the 1990s, which she continued until her death at the age of 101.