This page is an introduction to some of my favourite surrealist artists, which I will add to over time. Some of them are well-known, such as Salvador Dali, but there are many out there whose names are not household names, but their works are just as captivating and inspiring.
KAY SAGE – 1898-1963
Born in America, moving to Paris in the 1930’s, Kay Sage became involved in the Parisian Surrealist movement through which she met and married Yves Tanguy, the two collaborating on some works together. With failing eyesight in the late 50’s and 60’s she continued to paint, producing three-dimensional works as well.
In my opinion her works should be ranked up there with the more well-known artists, such as her husbands. Her paintings were usually of inanimate forms, and constructions on landscapes which convey a sense of human form within. They hold a beauty, and yet sense of isolation and mystery which is hard to describe. Unfortunately there have not been many books written on her, if any they are hard to find. The one you can easily find has to be the definitive ‘A House of Her Own’ by Judith D Suther. It is a great biography of Sage’s life and work, although sadly many of the images are not in colour. You can however find some of her more well-known images scattered about on web and at Wikipedia:
LEONOR FINI – 1907-1996
Leonor Fini never considered herself as belonging to the Surrealist movement, and never formally joined it, but participated in Surrealist exhibitions and was friends with some of the Surrealist painters, such as Max Ernst, Paul Eluard, and Salvador Dali. She called herself ”a female Salvador Dali’. She has a great body of work including paintings, illustrations for books and costume and theatre designs. You can find a large number of her works on the official Leonor Fini site:
What is there to say about Salvador Dali that has not already been said or written. He is the most famous of the Surrealist artists and his name has become synonymous with Surrealism. His dream like, mysterious landscapes and melting watches have been seen via all media and his work and inspiration for artists. He is popularly known as being a bit of an eccentric, but there was certainly a much deeper side to him. He had a fascination with philosophy, natural sciences, mathematics and the mind, particularly the works of Freud. All these elements are expressed in one form or other in his works, for example his mathematical interest expressed with the hyperdimensional cube in his image ‘Corpus Hypercubicus‘ .I admire both his technical skill and his landscapes. It is through stumbling across his images in a book as a teenager that my love of Surrealism was born.
Dali’s collection of works is extensive. A good collection of them can be viewed at: http://www.salvadordalimuseum.org/collection/collection_highlights.html
“I try to create images that spark the imagination, stir emotions, or just make you think.” SirJohn
SirJohn is one of the few modern day Surrealist artists in my list of favourites. His images do all of what he aims to do. They have the ability to convey such deep emotion and thought. His titles hint at that emotion and thought behind the creation, without giving away too much, but allowing, through his depiction and composition of the images, to let you then move on, explore and discover for yourself the fullness of meaning and possibilities behind those short titles. His images can be explored at his website: http://www.sirjohnsworld.com/
Yves Tanguy apparently was inspired to paint after seeing a painting by Georgio de Chirico. His early paintings were figurative, and as he became more influenced by the use of Automatism his images moved to depicting more organic, anthropomorphic and biomorphic forms on landscapes stretching back to infinity. His style is unique and easily recognizable, although not easy to interpret in a defined way. He himself never explained their meanings. A wonderful collection of images can be found here: http://www.matta-art.com/tanguy/tanguy.htm