This week we are going to look at artists from one of my favorite art movements!


Surrealist artists rebelled against convention and instead embraced symbolic images from the subconscious mind to create dreamlike worlds.

They used their creativity and imagination to balance between realism and fantasy expressed in a work of art.

  • Dorothea Margaret Tanning. ( 1910 -2012 )
  • Dorothea was an American painter, printmaker, sculpture, writer and poet.
  • After two years of college, Dorothea quit to pursue art.
  • Inspired by the Gothic romance novels she picked up from her local library, strange dreams and rich symbolism, Dorothea would paint fantastical scenes filled with strange creatures and mysterious figures.
  • In 1941, Dorothea met gallery owner, Julien Levy who gave her 2 solo exhibitions as well as introduced her to her future husband, fellow artist, Max Ernst.
  • They were married for 30 years, living in Paris until Ernst’s death.
  • In the 1980s Dorothea continued creating art.
  • In the 1990s & 2000s she focused on writing. On Jan 31st 2012 Dorothea Tanning passed away at 101.
  • Surrealist artists often expressed themselves by putting symbolic objects in their work. They sometimes would use the same symbol in many pieces. As you take a look at these two paintings, what symbol does Dorothea use in her work and what might it represent ?
” Birthday ” ( image from wikiart )
” Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ” ( Image from wikiart )
  • Max Ernst ( 1891 – 1976 )
  • Max Ernst was a German ( naturalised American ) French painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet.
  • Ernst was a pioneer of the Dada & Surrealism movement.
  • Before Max started painting, he studied philosophy and psychology. Max would visit asylums and became interested in the artwork of mentally ill patients.
  • He had no formal art training but also became interested in experimenting with art materials.
  • This led to Max developing the technique of frottage, ” which uses pencil rubbings of objects as a source of images. ” He also created the grattage technique, ” in which paint is scraped across canvas to reveal the imprints of the objects placed beneath. “
  • Several artists had a large influence on Ernst’s work such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Giorgio de Chirico.
  • Over the years Max’s work has dealt with many themes such as war, mythology, psychology, Christian iconography, anarchy, landscapes, anthropomorphized plants and animals, dreams and nightmares.
  • Ernst’s recurring symbol is a bird named Loplop. Stemming from Max’s confusion concerning birds and humans when he was young. Lollop represents his alter ego.
  • In 1946, Max married his 4th wife, fellow surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning.
  • They moved to Sedona, Arizona where they hosted intellectuals and fellow artists, later moving to Paris.
  • Max Ernst died at the age of 84 on April 1, 1976.
” Shell Flowers ” ( image from wikiart )
” Birds Also Birds, Fish Snake and Scarecrow ” ( image from wikiart )
  • Frida Kahlo ( 1907 – 1954 )
  • Frida Kahlo is definitely one of my favorite artists! I’ve always considered her to my kindred spirit. Frida is one of the first artists that inspired me to be an artist and I will alway be eternally grateful to her!
  • Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who is known for her self portraits, portraiture of others and works inspired by her beloved Mexico.
  • Frida’s paintings themes included identity, class, gender, postcolonialism and race in Mexican society.
  • Frida loved art when she was younger but didn’t think of it as a career option until after her accident.
  • On September 17th, 1925, Frida and her boyfriend, Arias were in a very bad bus accident which killed several passengers and injured many others. Arias was not hurt to badly, Frida on the other hand was not so lucky.
  • Frida was severely injured and nearly died. Pain associated with the injuries Frida suffered would last for the rest of her life.
  • Frida had more than 30 surgeries throughout her life causing her to be bedridden and often in body casts.
  • Confined to her bed, Frida was given a lap easel to paint on and a mirror was put on the overhead of her canopy bed so that she could paint self portraits.
  • In 1928 Frida met famed Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. They fell deeply in love and married in 1929. Unfortunately it turned out to be a very turbulent relationship as Diego had many infidelities. They divorced in 1939 but got remarried in 1940.
  • Frida once said ” there have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst. ” Frida Kahlo truly painted from her heart and expressed all of her heartbreak and pain through her art.
  • Frida would often travel with Diego when he had art commissions. He did encourage her with her painting and she ended up meeting several prominent artists at the time who encouraged her as well.
  • In 1938 Frida had a major exhibit in New York city, selling almost half of her work. She also received several commissions.
  • By 1941 Frida’s health was continuing to worsen. She had lost her beloved father but despite all that she was dealing with, Frida’s work was gaining popularity and she continued to exhibit in several group shows.
  • One thing Frida longed for the most was to exhibit in her own beloved country of Mexico.
  • In 1953, Frida got her wish, although it wouldn’t be without hardship. Frida was given strict orders not to leave her bed as she was very ill. Earlier in the year, her right leg had to be amputated and she was confined to a wheelchair. Still, Frida was not going to miss her first solo show in Mexico.
  • Frida Kahlo arrived to the Galeria Arte Mexicano in an ambulance and then spent the evening celebrating with her guests from her four – poster bed that was set up in the gallery.
  • Frida died on July 13th, 1954 at the age of 47.
  • Frida Kahlo popularity grew significantly after her passing. She is considered one of the most important artists of the twentieth-century and truly is an inspiration for many! To put into words how much Frida means to me is almost impossible so I will use her words,

Mi amor Frida Kahlo,

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you. ” ♡

Left, ” Self Portrait with Cropped Hair ” Top right, ” The Two Fridas ” Bottom right, ” The Wounded Deer ” ( Images from Wikipedia )
My rendition of Frida Kahlo’s ” The Wounded Deer “
Top Left, Me at the Brooklyn Museum, Frida Kahlo” Appearances Can Be Deceiving ” Exhibit, Bottom Left, Top Right and Bottom right, ” My portrait drawings of Frida “
  • Salvador Dali ( 1904 – 1989 )
  • Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist known for his eccentric personality, extravagant lifestyle, extreme talent and controversial work. He was a notorious icon of the Surrealist movement and another one of my most favorite artists.
  • Dali’s work included painting, graphic arts, film, sculpture, fashion design and photography.
  • Common themes included dreams, subconscious, religion, science and closest personal relationships.
  • Dali’s earliest painting, entitled ” Landscape of Figueres ” was done when he was just 6 years old.
  • Dali attended The Fine Arts Academy in Madrid when he was 16yrs old. However he was expelled twice and left Spain without graduating for Paris, France.
  • Surrealists were known to look to their subconscious for inspiration for their art. Dali was responsible for developing a method called Paranoiac – critical which was ” an induced state of paranoia that allowed for the deconstruction of identity. It encouraged the subjective mind to conjure links between the otherwise disparate or unlikely objects. ” An example of this might be when we look at the clouds and start to see various shapes and images in them.
  • Dali married the love of his life and art muse, Elena Duakonova or Gala in 1934. They had quite the unconventional, somewhat turbulent relationship at times but seem to make it work in their own way, as they were together for 48 years.
  • Dali once said ” I would polish Gala to make her shine, make her the happiest possible, caring for her more than myself, because without her, it would all end. ”
  • There were many recurring symbols and images in Dali’s art such as:
  • Melting clocks, which Dali would simply say, represented the memory he had of seeing camembert cheese melting in the sun.
  • Grasshoppers – Plague, decay and death. Dali was terrified of these little critters.
  • Ants, lobsters, eggs, snails, elephants and chests of drawers also made frequent appearances.
  • Dali’s bizarre and ostentatious behavior often overshadowed his art. Some examples include:
  • Dali traveling with his pet ocelot
  • Throwing lavish and bizarre dinner parties with live animals in attendance.
  • Publishing a book entirely devoted to his infamous mustache
  • Appearing on The Dick Cavett Show with an anteater and avoid paying at restaurants by drawing on the checks he wrote. Dali believed that the restaurant wouldn’t want to cash such a valuable piece of art. Interesting enough, he was usually right.
  • Some of Dali’s interests and behaviors could be pretty unsettling at times but he definitely stayed true to his style and never apologized for how he acted or what he believed in.
  • To quote Salvador Dali, ” I am not strange… I am just not normal. “
Top Left, ” Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of a New Man ” Bottom Left, ” Galatea of the Spheres ” Top Right, ” The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory ” Bottom Right, ” Temptation of St Anthony ” ( Images from Wikipedia )
Left, ” Original of ” Gradiva ” in black and white Right, ” My Rendition of ” Gradiva ”
” My portrait drawing of Salvador Dali “
” Original piece by me ” The Persistence of Madness in the Times and Tribulations of Rebirth ”
  • Remedios Varo was a Spanish Mexican artist ( 1908 – 1963 )
  • Varo’s father was a hydraulic engineer and recognized her talent early on. He had Remedios reproduce his drawings for practice. Her father also introduced her to the works of Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe as well as texts on mysticism and philosophy. All of this influence would show up in Remedios work.
  • Remedios drew throughout her childhood and did her first painting at age 12.
  • In 1924 at the age of 15 Varo attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. This was the same Academy that Salvador Dali got kicked out of.
  • Remedios was also very interested in various non traditional spiritual practices including mystic and hermetic traditions as well as magic and animistic faiths. Nature, mystical forces, science and imaginary worlds have also been depicted in Remedios work.
  • At the age of 20, Remedios married fellow artist Gerardo Lizzarrag who she met in school.
  • The marriage did not last but they alway remained friends.
  • In 1935 Remedios was introduced to a group of Surrealist artists known as ‘ Logicofobista ‘ . Remedios fully immersed herself in the surrealist movement and would find a style that she would continue to develop throughout the rest of her life.
  • Remedios met her second husband, French poet Benjamin Peret. With the Spanish Civil approaching and their opposition to the Fascists, they fled to France.
  • It was at this time, Remedios exhibited her work at the International Surrealism Exposition.
  • The Nazis invaded France in 1941 so Varo and her husband headed to Mexico. After Remedios separated from her second husband, she traveled to Venezuela where she would remain until 1949 working as an advert artist.
  • Remedios would travel just once more, returning to Mexico. She met Austrian politician, Walter Gruen who she would spend the rest of her life with and who would convince her to give up drawing for businesses and dedicate herself to painting.
  • In 1956, Remedios had her first major solo exhibit in Mexico city. During this time, she would meet other famed Mexican artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
  • Remedios Varo continued to exhibit work until her death in 1963. During her life, Remedios created 384 works of art. Her partner, Walter made sure that her work was catalogued to ensure her legacy. Her work is now exhibited all over the world.
” As the Volante ” ( image from wiki art )
” Witch Going to the Sabbath ” ( image from wiki art )
” Nacer De Nuevo ” ( image from wiki art )

Thank you for checking out #SlayInspireCreate! Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post!

Memento Vivere!

By angelpunk1

Art is my oxygen and to be an artist is to live. Join me on my artistic journey! I hope to inspire you with my work, to live in the moment and to always follow your heart wherever it takes you! Memento Vivere! Remember to Live!

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