About This Artwork

Yves Tanguy
American, born France, 1900–1955

Untitled, 1928

Oil on eight joined panels
78 3/4 x 23 1/2 in. (200 x 59.7 cm), each panel
Signed, l.r.: "YVES TANGUY.28"

Joseph Winterbotham Collection, 1988.434

© 2018 Estate of Yves Tanguy / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The largely self-taught Yves Tanguy decided to become an artist around 1923, when he was inspired by a painting by Giorgio de Chirico that he saw in a shop window. Tanguy became interested in Surrealism a year later, after reading the periodical La révolution surréaliste. André Breton welcomed him into the Surrealist group in 1925. Inspired by the metaphysical qualities of de Chirico’s work, as well as the biomorphic forms of Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and Joan Miró, Tanguy quickly developed his own fantastic vocabulary of organic, amoeba-like shapes that populate mysterious, dreamlike settings. Tanguy painted this primordial landscape on a hinged wooden screen. Little information exists about the circumstances of the work’s making, but the artist probably intended it for a patron’s home, since many Surrealists were interested in the decorative arts and produced folding screens, furniture, and other domestic objects. In this unusual example, although the screen retains the potential to close off the private sphere, it simultaneously opens up more intimate dreams and fantasies to the outside world.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Yves Tanguy: Retrospective, 1925-1955, June 17–September 27, 1982, ill. p. 49 (detail) in French ed.; traveled to Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, October 17, 1982–January 2, 1983, ill. opp. p. 49 in German ed. (detail).

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, The Folding Image, March 4–September 3, 1984, no. 28.1/28.2; traveled to New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, October 11, 1984–January 6, 1985, no. 28.

Publication History

Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1988-89, p. 29 (ill.).

Charles F. Stuckey, French Painting, (New York, 1991), p. 266 (ill.).

James N. Wood and Teri J. Edelstein, The Art Institute of Chicago: Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture (Chicago, 1996), p. 58 (ill.).

Ownership History

Galerie André-François Petit, Paris, by 1982–1988 [Paris 1982]; sold to the Art Institute, 1988.

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