Un peu après (A Little Later) by Yves Tanguy, 1940. Oil on canvas mounted to Masonite, 18 x 15 inches. Sold in 2010 for $688,000.
From Skinner Inc.:
Of Tanguy’s work of the 1940s, the poet John Ashbury observed forms of ‘new bulk and density’; ‘The [depicted] universe is no longer exclusively mineral; some of its tenants appear to be made of wood, paper or cloth. There are strange tissue-like folds, bones creatures not only colored like jellyfish but of some viscous milky white/or magenta pulp, weeping, burning to the touch like sodium. And these forms have begun to proliferate, pullulate, assuming ever more complex, incestuous relationships.’1 What Ashbury alludes to is the way that Tanguy’s compositions can be at once animate and static, organic and inorganic, whole and fragmented, nature-sprung and man-made. In the present work, simply in the way he aggregates forms, Tanguy evokes an absurd notion of hierarchy amongst what are essentially automatons. There are human-like appendages that suggest the potential for movement but little sense of a motive for action. Even though the cast shadows convey solidity, each aggregate can also be reduced to a precarious pile of parts. The scene can be interpreted as both desolate and fanciful—a wasteland of parts as much as a quixotic landscape with figures on a journey.
Ashbury, John. “Tanguy-The Geometer of Dreams.” Yves Tanguy (November 7 to December 7, 1974). New York: Acquavella Galleries, Inc., 1974. ↩