Dorothea Tanning was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer and poet who was born on 25 August 1910 in Galesburg, Illinois, USA.
She was a self taught artist who discovered Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art’s 1936 Exhibition: Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism. She supported herself as a commercial artist until the art director of Macy’s department store, impressed by her creativity and talent in illustrating fashion advertisements, introduced her to the gallery owner Julien Levy who displayed her work and gave her two solo exhibtiions. He also introduced her to the circle of emigre Surrealists including the German painter Max Ernst.
He was enchanted by her iconic self-portrait Birthday (1942). They fell in love and embarked on a life together that took them to Sedona, Arizona and later to France. They lived in Paris and later Provence until his death in 1976. The were married for 30 years.
Dorothea returned to New York after his death where she continued to create studio art in the 1980s. She then turned her attention to writing and poetry in the 1990s and 2000s, writing and publishing until the end of her life, dying on 31 January 2012 at the age of 101.