Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy was born on 5 January 1900, in Paris. During the 1910s, while in high school, he met Pierre Matisse, who would later become his dealer and a lifelong friend. In 1918 he joined the Merchant Marine and traveled to Africa, South America, and England. In 1922, Tanguy returned to Paris, after his volunteer service in Tunis, and began sketching café scenes and working occasional jobs. After seeing a work by Giorgio De Chirico, in 1923 Tanguy started painting and was successively welcomed by André Breton into the Surrealist group in 1925. Despite his lack of formal training, Tanguy’s art developed relentlessly and his mature style emerged by the late 1920s. After first solo show in 1927 at the Galerie Surréaliste in Paris, Tanguy participated in numerous Surrealist group exhibitions.
Following a trip to Africa in 1930, Tanguy incorporated images inspired by geological formations he had seen. In 1939 he met the painter Kay Sage in Paris and later that year travelled with her to America, where they married in 1940 and settled in Woodbury, Connecticut. In 1942 Tanguy participated in the Artists in Exile show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, where he exhibited until 1950. He became a United States citizen in 1948. The Museum of Modern Art in New York held a retrospective of Tanguy’s work eight months after his death on 15 January 1955, in Woodbury.
Tanguy’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Menil Collection, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA); the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Kunstmuseum Basel; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Tate Collection, London.
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