Yves Tanguy, Through Birds Through Fire But Not Through Glass, 1943
This was the last painting made my Tanguy’s wife, Kay Sage, who shot herself five years after her husband’s death. In her suicide note she wrote, “The first painting by Yves that I saw, before I knew him, was called ‘I’m Waiting for You.’ I’ve come. Now he’s waiting for me again–I’m on my way.”
Tanguy and Sage fled Europe with the outbreak of World War II, as so many other European artists were forced to do. They eventually settled in Woodbury, Connecticut, where the lived out the remaining years of their lives. I like to think of them up there working on their concentrated singular visions a mere two hours away from the frantic excitements of the New York School.
At the moment I’d far prefer being able to see the work that Tanguy was making during those post-War years than any of the work produced by the American painters. That could have to do with the fact that I’ve been endlessly exposed to the Action Painters achievements, but is more likely that I’m just sick to death of the kind of in-your-face obviousness of art making nowadays with its lack of subtlety, poetry or mystery, all qualities that are present in abundance in the work of Tanguy.