American artist and author Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) created more than 100 graphic works between 1950 and 2001. Thanks to a recent generous gift to the Menil Collection from Barbara and Jim Metcalf, the Menil now owns the complete set, many of which will be displayed for the first time in The Graphic Work of Dorothea Tanning.
These prints and illustrated books feature images that range from representation to near total abstraction, demonstrating the breadth of Tanning’s formal innovation. Experimenting with lithography, etching, and aquatint, Tanning produced a variety of surface textures, some crystalline, others cloud-like. She often introducing reoccurring motifs into her dreamlike spaces. Her ambiguously erotic embracing figures are the most recognizable. Tanning’s highly personal work addresses universal human emotions and experiences of ecstasy, elation, anxiety, and obsession.
Complementing these works on paper, Tanning’s sculpture Cousins (1970), one of the highlights of the Menil’s Surrealist collection, will also be included in the exhibition.