French surrealist painter Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy was born on January 5, 1900. His father was a retired navy captain and Tanguy himself was briefly in the merchant navy. Like René Magritte, Tanguy was inspired by Giorgio de Chirico and he decided to dedicate his life to painting. His style is distinctive. The canvases look like vast, barren land or seascapes littered with jagged, tortured shapes; it makes sense for someone who lived through two wars.
Tanguy met American artist Kay Sage and followed her back to the States after he was judged unfit for military service during World War II. Several years after their marriage, Tanguy became an American citizen. After his death from a stroke on January 15, 1555 at the age of only 55, Tanguy was cremated and his ashes were scattered on the beach of the fishing village Douarnenez, back in France.
Today’s phrase “Très solitaire dans mon travail, j’en suis, en fait, presque jaloux” (treh sol-E-tare dahn moh traveye, sjohn swee, ehn feh, preskuh sjaloo) a Tanguy quotation that means “Very much alone in my work, I am almost jealous of it.” He certainly expressed that solitary spirit in his art.