Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in Sedona by John Kasentzis
After Max Ernst’s death in 1976, Dorothea Tanning returned to the United States. By 1980 she had relocated her home and studio to New York and embarked on an energetic creative period in which she produced paintings, drawings, and collages. Her work has been recognized in numerous one-person exhibitions, both in the United States and in Europe, including retrospectives in 1974 at the Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Paris (which became the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1977), and in 1993 at the Malmö Konsthall in Sweden and the at the Camden Art Center in London. In 2000, the Philadelphia Museum of Art mounted a small retrospective exhibition entitled Birthday and Beyond to mark its acquisition of Tanning’s celebrated 1942 self-portrait,Birthday.
Towards the end of her life, Tanning focused on her work as a writer and poet. In 1986, she published her memoir, also called Birthday, which has since been translated into four other languages, and in 2001, she wrote an expanded version of the memoir called Between Lives: An Artist and Her World. A collection of her poems, A Table of Content, and a short novel, Chasm: A Weekend, were both published in 2004. Tanning continued to write poetry until her death, and her poems appeared regularly in such literary reviews and magazines as The Yale Review, Poetry, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker. Her second collection of poems, Coming to That, was published by Graywolf Press in 2011.
Tanning died on January 31, 2012, at her Manhattan home aged 101.