Collection ID: M.72

Collection context


Sage, Kay, 1898-1963
1938-1963, 1982 and undated
The Yves Tanguy Collection is composed of exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, publications featuring Tanguy's work, and photographs of Tanguy's artwork.
1.25 Linear Feet and 2.25 manuscript boxes, 9 volumes, and 1 oversized folder
English , French .


Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The Yves Tanguy collection documents the artistic career of Yves Tanguy from 1938-1963.

The collection is arranged in one series, Collected Material. The majority of the collection is comprised of articles, exhibition catalogs, and publications that mention Tanguy and/or his artwork. These were all donated by Alexandra Darrow. Several of the rare exhibition catalogs are housed in the rare book section of the library.

Alexandra Darrow donated the photographs and negatives of Yves Tanguy and his artwork. All of the photographs are in black and white and vary in size.

There is a shared box with the Kage Sage Papers. While the collections were initially mixed – this is merely to save space in the archive.

Biographical / Historical:

Yves Tanguy was born in Paris in 1900. He spent summers in his family's home in Brittany and the landscape of his youth were influential on his later surrealist artworks. In 1920 Tanguy was drafted into service for the French army. During his service he met and befriended the poet Jacques Prevert. Prevert and Tanguy spent time together in Paris after their service searching for an artistic or literary purpose. The seminal story goes that in 1923 Tanguy was riding a bus and he saw a painting in the window of Paul Guillaume's gallery. The picture was a Giorgio de Chirico. Tanguy was so struck by the painting that he jumped off the bus to examine it further. It was that day that Tanguy decided to be a painter.

In 1925 Tanguy met Andre Breton – one of the leading figures of the new Surrealist movement. In June 1926, the surrealist magazine La Revolution Surrealiste reproduced one of Tanguy's paintings which cemented Tanguy as a surrealist artist. "Qu'est-ce que le surealisme? C'est l'apparition d'Yves Tanguy, coiffe du paradisier grand emeraude." Translated: "What is surrealism? The appearance of Yves Tanguy crowned with a large emerald-green bird-of-paradise." Asked and answered by Andre Breton.

In 1938, Tanguy met Kay Sage and the two began their life together. Because of the gathering tensions in Europe due to World War II, Sage left Paris to return to New York. Tanguy followed her and they purchased a house together in Woodbury Connecticut with enough space for both of them to have a studio. The two lived harmoniously together until 1955, when Tanguy died suddenly. After his death Kay Sage kept his paintings and archival collections. She published a small catalog raisonne of Tanguy's works through the Pierre Matisse gallery.

Processing information:

The Kay Sage and the Yves Tanguy Collections were donated to the museum at the same time, and they were described together. In 2021 the archivist separated the two collections.

Indexed Terms



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