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 Dorothea Tanning   (1910-2012)

  Red Drama
  • etching, aquatint and open bite, 1954
  • total edition of 50 signed and numbered on alfa with Arabic numerals, 10 signed and numbered on BFK Rives with Roman numerals and an unspecified number of proofs including 2 signed color trial proofs on BFK Rives.
  • this example a color variant proof apart from the regular edition, signed in pencil and numbered essai
  • plate size 3¼" x 2¼" (8.3 x 5.8 cm.)
  • paper size 4¾" x 3¾" (12 x 9.5 cm.)
  • printed by George Visat, Paris
  • Literature:  Dorothea Tanning: Hail, Delirium!, New York Public Library, 1992, catalog no.8, pp.25, 90

      view full sheet recto      view full sheet verso

Visat's etching atelier became my second studio. So for my first Paris solo exhibition what better way to enrich the little catalogue than with an etching in color - limpid colors, several of which could often be wiped onto the same plate - in this case two plates, one for the carmine, one for the Prussian blue and ochre. From this moment on everything about the etching process was dramatic and headlong. I wanted to capture a moment, however fleeting it might be; to fix it, like evidence, a flashed image.
      -Dorothea Tanning, Hail, Delirium!, 1992, catalog raisonne

In Red Drama Tanning becomes more or less completely abstract. But we can decipher, fused together, the lines of a giant, presumably male, monster embracing - raping? overpowering? - a young girl. A new sensuous graininess appears - a new explicitness of surface - as well as that vigorous amorphousness that for me is characteristic of many Tanning prints: a bold flexibility of handling and complication of surface, indicating the amazing subtlety and power of Tanning's touch - the strength and durability of her irrationality, her sensuous depth.
      -Donald Kuspit, The Amorphousness of Being Other: Dorothea Tanning's Prints, 1992
Dorothea Tanning - Red Drama - 1954 color etching and aquatint

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