Artist of the Month: Kay Sage

Artist of the Month (June)

Kay Sage

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Tomorrow is Never (1955), from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Copyright Artists Rights Society (ARS) of New York 2016.

Bio of Sage (by Alexis Corral in this Artsy article about obscure female Surrealists) below:

The evocative Surrealism of Kay Sage—which recalls Giorgio de Chirico’s shadowy landscapes and stark buildings, and her husband Yves Tanguy’s spheric forms in desolate spaces—was tremendously influential in the United States in the 1930s. Sage spent her childhood in Europe and New York, and later integrated herself into the Parisian Surrealist boys club, where she met Tanguy in 1939. Once she developed her mature style, featuring strong architectural forms and precise horizon lines, Sage routinely exhibited in New York and Europe throughout the 1940s and ’50s. She tragically began losing her eyesight in the mid-1950s, but went on to write four volumes of poetry and the beginnings of a memoir.

I recently saw Tomorrow is Never in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of the Met. The profound and tragic beauty of the work deeply resonated with me and spurred me to discover more about Sage. According to the wall text, she painted this work after a five-month hiatus following the sudden death of her husband and it symbolizes the poignant sense of entrapment and dislocation experienced by Sage prior to her 1963 suicide. Though the piece has a somber, graying tone, it feels transcendental, calm; the stillness is palpable. The painting’s moroseness renders Tomorrow is Never ethereal, transcendental, and utterly memorable. Despite the impending summer season, with light and joy abound, I thought referencing Sage would help anchor my own inner thoughts and appreciation for her art in tangibility.

One comment

  1. Moselle, Once again I read your descriptive piece about Kay Sage and it brought back an earlier memory of an assignment I received to see an exhibit of de Chirico’s work. I was so eager to see it that I went to MOMA almost immediately to view said exhibit. Boy was I disappointed when they told me that it hadn’t opened yet. I feel the same way about your description of Sage. I can’t wait to see it. You’ve written another wonderful column. Thank you. I very much enjoy reading your articles. Much love,

    Sent from my iPhone Joyce Weitz

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