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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Kay Sage

Kay Sage

Katherine Linn Sage (June 25, 1898 - January 8, 1963), usually known as Kay Sage, was an American Surrealist artist and poet.

She was born in Albany, New York the second daughter of a prosperous upper middle class family, Henry Manning Sage and Annie Wheeler Ward. She attended the Foxcroft School, in Virginia, where she became the life long friend of Flora Payne Whitney, heiress to the Whitney, Payne and Vanderbilt fortunes, and one of the founders of the Whitney Museum.

Much of Kay's youth was spent traveling around Europe with her mother, a free spirit whose ample means allowed her to indulge an unquenchable wanderlust.

Sage settled down in Rapallo, Italy, to pursue art studies in Rome in the early 1920s. In 1924 she met Prince Ranieri di San Faustino, an Italian nobleman who became her first husband. But the life of the idle rich did not satisfy her; after ten years in the social circuit she would later call "a stagnant swamp," she separated from her husband and began to pursue her artistic ambitions in earnest.

Sage gravitated to Paris and became associated with the Surrealist movement. At first she was not precisely warmly regarded by the surrealists, perhaps because of her aristocratic, privileged background as the "Princess San Faustino."

Around 1937 she was introduced to fellow painter Yves Tanguy by her friend Heinz Henghes and began a long-term relationship with him. At the outbreak of World War II, Sage moved back to the United States and arranged for several of her French fellow artists to take refuge in America, including Tanguy, who would soon become her second husband.

Sage and Tanguy were married in Reno, Nevada on 17 August 1940. After the war, the couple bought an old farmhouse in Woodbury, Connecticut and converted it into an artists' studio. They would spend the rest of their lives painting there.

When Tanguy died in 1955, Sage was deeply affected. She painted less and less, her once witty poetry turned wry and cynical, and she became a virtual recluse. What little energy she could summon was spent mostly on defending Tanguy's work against the critics and preparing a catalogue of Tanguy's works.

(Sage's turn away from painting had more to do with failing eyesight than her depression over losing Tanguy. She traveled to Boston for painful and ultimately unsuccessful eye surgeries. But despite her loss of vision, Sage continued to create magnificent artworks. In 1961, the Viviano Gallery in New York City presented an exhibit of Sage's constructions and poetry, entitled "Your Move." The constructions were three-dimensional works made out of diverse materials, including wire, stones, and bullets. Many of these works are now in the collection of the Mattatuck Museum, located in Waterbury not far from where Sage lived. The Mattatuck is also the repository for much of Sage's pre-Surrealist work and some of her personal effects.)

A first suicide attempt in 1959 failed. The second one succeeded, on January 8, 1963, three days after Tanguy's birthday (January 5). She was 64 years old. Her ashes were scattered on the coast of Brittany, together with those of her husband by their friend Pierre Matisse.[1]

Perhaps inevitably, critics have had a tendency to place Sage's paintings in the shadow of those of her husband Yves Tanguy. It is true that Sage's paintings, like those of her husband, show large, surreal landscapes, but the strange shapes that wander her worlds are as reminiscent of de Chirico as they are of Tanguy.

A comparison of, for instance, Sage's Tomorrow is Never, 1955, with its draped figures rising from the mist encased by scaffolding, and Tanguy's Multiplication des Arcs, 1954, (above) with its milling crowds of pebbles oozing around glittering, jagged blocks of light, suggests two universes that are both rather alien from our own (at least in terms of exterior appearances), but at the same time also quite different from each other.


1 comment:

Artodyssey said...

Mary, as you can see , this is a quote from wikipedia ...


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