Kay Sage

1898Albany, United States | 1963Woodbury, United States
Kay Sage — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

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American painter.

Born into a wealthy American family, Kay Sage travelled extensively with her mother, particularly in Italy. She stayed there for about ten years, married an Italian, took painting lessons and showed several paintings in an abstract style in Milan. On her return to Paris, she abandoned abstraction, attracted the attention of Yves Tanguy and André Breton at the Salon des Surindépendants, and met the Surrealists. One of her paintings was exhibited at the request of A. Breton at the 1938 International Surrealism Exhibition in Paris. From the beginning of the Second World War, she worked from the United States, to which she had returned in 1939, to help obtain emigration and residency visas for her friends in Paris, notably the Surrealists. Her work began to reflect the influence of Y. Tanguy, her second husband, in its concern for materials. But whereas he would sketch and model organic forms, K. Sage depicted troubled and aloof female subjects, as well as geometric silhouettes, within an increasingly fantastical artistic cosmos.

In Woodbury, Connecticut, where they rented a house and then moved permanently to a farm after 1941, their two workshops were adjoined. The Calders and Massons were located not far away. K. Sage’s work was included in the “First Papers of Surrealism” exhibition in 1942. K. Sage and Y. Tanguy decided to remain in the Americas after the war. Her partner’s premature death in 1955 quickly led her to abandon painting, and she focused on documenting his collected work, after which she committed suicide in 1963. She also left behind several poems. A sad, poignant end for a painter whose supremely smooth skies evoke the most surprising works of Magritte.

Jacqueline Chénieux-Gendron

Translated from French by Anna Knight.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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