YVES TANGUY'S YOUTH
Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy was born on January 5, 1900 in Paris, France, as the son of a retired navy captain. His parents were both of Breton origin. After his father's death in 1908, his mother moved back to her native Locronan, Finistère, and he ended up spending much of his youth living with various relatives.
YVES TANGUY AS AN ARTIST
In 1918, Yves Tanguy briefly joined the merchant navy before being drafted into the Army, where he befriended Jacques Prévert. At the end of his military service in 1922, he returned to Paris, where he worked various odd jobs. By chance, he stumbled upon a painting by Giorgio de Chirico and was so deeply impressed he resolved to become a painter himself in spite of his complete lack of formal training.
Through his friend Jacques Prévert, Tanguy was introduced about 1924 into the circle of surrealist artists around André Breton. Tanguy quickly began to develop his own unique painting style, giving his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1927, and marrying his first wife later that same year.
Throughout the 1930s, Tanguy adopted the bohemian lifestyle of the struggling artist with gusto, leading eventually to the failure of his first marriage. In 1938, after seeing the work of fellow artist Kay Sage, Tanguy began a relationship with her that would eventually lead to his second marriage.
With the outbreak of World War II, Sage moved back to her native New York, and Tanguy, judged unfit for military service, followed her. He would spend the rest of his life in the United States. Sage and Tanguy were married in Reno, Nevada on August 17, 1940. Toward the end of the war, the couple moved to Woodbury, Connecticut, converting an old farmhouse into an artists' studio. They spent the rest of their lives there. In 1948, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
YVES TANGUY'S DEATH
On January 15, 1955, Tanguy suffered a stroke at Woodbury, and died from it; his body was cremated. Preserved until Sage's death in 1963, his ashes were scattered by his friend Pierre Matisse on the beach at Douarnenez in his beloved Brittany, together with those of his wife.