An Artist and Her World
The life and times of one of our most enchanting artists; a twentieth-century fairy tale, lovingly remembered and luminously told.
Fourteen years ago, the artist Dorothea Tanning published Birthday, a collection of reminiscences. Now she has expanded it into a memoir of her journey through the last century as confidant, collaborator, and muse to some of its most inspired minds and personalities: a diverse assemblage that ranges from the fathers of dada and surrealism to Virgil Thompson, George Balanchine, Alberto Giacometti, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote, Joan Miró, James Merrill, and many more. At its center is the relationship, tenderly rendered, between Tanning and her famed husband, the enigmatic surrealist Max Ernst.
Whether recalling the poignant presence of her friend Joseph Cornell or simply marveling at the facades along a Venice canal, "their filmy reflections fluttering in the dirty canal like fragile altar cloths hung out to dry," Tanning's writing is beguiling, wry, and shot through with the same eye for pregnant detail and immanent magic that marks her art.
Praise For Between Lives: An Artist and Her World…
— Anthony Hecht
It seems hardly fair that Dorothea Tanning, in a long, passionately inventive career as a painter, should have acquired as well the other harmony of prose, and that her passionate inventions as a writer should be so lovingly, so wisely resolved. Indeed it is not fair at all: the Muse was never an equal-opportunity employer, and the only appropriate response to Between Lives is untempered gratitude. How grateful I am for the Muse's caprice, twice over, for Dorothea Tanning is a dauntless writer who is entitled to love her life; she created it, and now, quite unfairly, I love it, too.
— Richard Howard
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393050400, 400pp.
Publication Date: August 17, 2001