Comtesse de Montferrier (acquired from the above on 3rd October 1945)
Berggruen & Cie., Paris
Jacques Ulmann, Paris (acquired by 1963)
Private Collection, France (by descent from the above)
E. V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York
Private Collection, France (acquired from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 19th June 2007, lot 36)
Private Collection, Europe (purchased at the above sale. Sold: Sotheby’s, London, 8th February 2012, lot 23)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by Yves Tanguy, 1942, no. 7
Cincinnati, Cincinnati Modern Art Society, 12 Surrealists, 1943
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, European Artists in America, 1945, no. 127
Paris, Galerie Daniel Malingue, Yves Tanguy, 2002, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Rome, Complesso Monumentale del Vittoriano, Dada e Surrealismo Riscoperti, 2009-10, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
André Breton, Yves Tanguy, New York, 1946, illustrated p. 56
Kay Sage & Pierre Matisse (ed.), Yves Tanguy. Un Recueil de ses œuvres / A Summary of his Works, New York, 1963, no. 273, illustrated p. 123
Patrick Waldberg, Yves Tanguy, Brussels, 1977, illustrated p. 196
When he painted the current work in 1942, Tanguy had recently arrived in New York and married the American Surrealist painter, Kay Sage. The formal complexities of his work from the 1930s entered a new maturity during his time in New York during the 1940s. His forms became more complex in their refinement and the horizon lines which had supported his earlier works gave way to atmospheric perspective.
James Thrall Soby wrote of the particular splendour of the artist's works from this period: 'After his African voyage, Tanguy usually substituted mineral forms for the vegetal ones used in earlier works. His color became more complex and varied, with extremes of light and dark replacing the relatively even tonality of his previous pictures. At the same time he made more and more frequent use of one of his most poetic inventions - the melting of land into sky, one image metamorphosed into another, as in the moving-picture technique known as lap-dissolve. The fixed horizon was now often replaced by a continuous and flowing treatment of space, and in many paintings of the 1930s and 1940s, it is extremely difficult to determine at what point earth becomes sky or whether objects rest on the ground or float aloft. The ambiguity is intensified by changes in the density of the objects themselves, from opaque to translucent to transparent, creating a spatial double entendre' (J. T. Soby in Yves Tanguy (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1955, pp. 17-18).
Tanguy's pictorial forms are unique in the canon of Surrealist art, amorphous yet somehow recognisable to the viewer. Pierre Matisse, the artist's dealer in New York, commented in 1942: 'Until Tanguy, the object, whatever external shocks it had undergone, remained in the last analysis a distinct prisoner of its own identity. With Tanguy we enter for the first time a world of total latency...' (P. Matisse, op. cit., p. 16). The objects which inhabit the ambiguous space of Deux fois du noir indeed seem reliant upon objective reality and yet far removed from any specific reference. With a refined sense of mystery, Tanguy presents in the current work a brilliant hyper-reality that embodies the aims of the Surrealist movement.
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