Dorothea Tanning’s Early Eye is the first work by this artist to enter the collection. It enriches the museum’s collection of seminal works by American Surrealists. A self-taught painter, sculptor, and poet, Tanning was close friends with many other artists, including Yves Tanguy, Kay Sage, and Max Ernst, whom she married in 1946. Early Eye depicts an open eye tipped on its side. Its silhouette is framed by ambiguous bodily motifs such as hands (at left) and a torso with breasts (at right). The image’s vertical orientation suggests female genitalia and may symbolize fertility and conception.

Dorothea Tanning
American, 1910–2012
Early Eye, 1948
Graphite pencil with black chalk highlights on wove paper
The Krieble Family Fund for American Art, 2012.1.1

From Our Collection

LeWitt, 2004 LeDray, 1999-2000 1868, Degas 1610, Mazzucchelli

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