Visions from the Desert. The Metamorphoses of Dorothea Tanning

Maria Josep Balsach Peig


This paper offers an overview of the oeuvre of Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) based on the iconography and hermeneutics of images relating to identity, trauma and violence. Tanning was not only a painter, but also a sculptor, writer, poet and outstanding chess player, who single-handedly pursued her artistic career through the best part of the twentieth century until her death. In addition, reference will be made to artists with links to Surrealism, such as Leonora Carrington, Dora Maar, Maya Deren and Louise Bourgeois, in order to frame the aspects discussed here in a wider context of female artists. Thus, Tanning will serve as a paradigmatic example of a sensitivity tending towards the mysterious, the occult and trauma in general.


Dorothea Tanning, Surrealism, mystery, trauma, identity

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