( 1900-1955). French painter; born in Paris; died in Connecticut. Of Breton parentage, Tanguy entered the merchant marine. He made several trips, to England, Portugal, Spain, Africa and South America. He came to painting unexpectedly, after having seen a picture by Chirico in the window of the Paul Guillaume Gallery. Although he had never touched a brush before or thought of doing so, he discovered that this was his calling; he emerged suddenly into an inner universe independent of the real world. His is a near-unique case of completely autonomous creation. In 1925 he met the Surrealists and joined their group, participating in all their exhibitions in France and abroad. His work espoused the profound aims of the movement in advance and ran the gamut of possible impacts of the psychic upon the physical. Nothing impaired the purity of the nussages it transmitted from a mental world, in which the artist lived isolated and whose mystery he succeeded in expressing, if not in explaining. His work has been compared to undersea or extraplanetary scenes. But in reality his vision was purely subjective, populated by forms with no equivalents. If these forms sometimes seem to emerge from the mist of dream or to grow out of the very irregularities of the materials employed ( 1927-1929 and 1950-1931 periods), they possess, however, a precise structure; they obey an inner logic, and rigorous relations are established between them. This is confirmed by the remarkable drawings which constitute an important part of Tanguy's work. Each of his pictures is like a balcony opening upon the unknown, and André Breton has spoken rightly of 'far expeditions'. Having left for the United States in 1939 and having sojourned in California and Canada, he settled in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1942. He lived on a farm, where he continued to work. In 1948 he became an American citizen. His work developed in the direction of greater precision, and his increasingly complex structures preserved their inventive integrity, although a certain dryness sometimes weakened their pure poetry.

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