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Dorothea Tanning (American, 1910–2012)

This picture marked an early turning point for Tanning, who was coming into her own as a member of the Surrealist group in New York. Birthday depicts the artist as both a flesh-and-blood individual and a guide to an imaginary realm.

Tanning creates the dreamlike feeling in this painting in ways both obvious and subtle. The disconcerting perspective of the endless hallways is immediately evident, along with the fantastic creature at her feet. However, the deeply tilted floors and her robe comprised of writhing human bodies require a closer examination of the scene.

Object Details

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