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Between Lives: An Artist and Her World [Hardcover]

Dorothea Tanning
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Oct 2001
In 1987 the arist Dorothea Tanning published "Birthday", a collection of reminiscences. Now she has expanded it into a memoir of her journey through the last century as confidant, collaborator, muse and mentor to some of its most inspired minds and personalities: a diverse assemblage that ranges from the fathers of surrealism and Dada to Virgil Thompson, George Balanchine, Alberto Giacometti, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote, Jean Miro and many more. At its centre is the relationship between Tanning and her husband, the enigmatic surrealist Max Ernst.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; 1 edition (17 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393050408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393050400
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 14.7 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


In buoyant and electric prose, laced with wit and leavened with ungrudging generosity, Dorothea Tanning has given us in this memoir a brilliant account of the fizz and panache of a truly remarkable life: Stravinsky provides her wedding champagne; at a Paris soir e, Andr Malraux upstages Orson Welles; J. Robert Oppenheimer turns up at Les Deux Magots; and the gentle and enigmatic surrealist Max Ernst, Ms. Tanning's husband, is the presiding spirit. This is a sustained success of recuperative magic. --Anthony Hecht

About the Author

Dorothea Tanning was born in 1910 in Galesburg, Illinois. Her paintings and sculptures rank among the msot inventive works of any living American artist and can be found in numerous collections, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Menil Collection, Houston; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and many others. She is also the author of "Birthday" (Lapis Press, 1986), and her poetry has appeared in "Parnassus," "Yale Review," "Paris Review," and Ploughshares and was included in "The Best Poetry 2000." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IT IS A STORY you tell lying down, when all the storms have rumbled off elsewhere, the fires abated, the musicians packed up, tents blown away like milkweed, the earth turns-maybe. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars b elated discovery 7 Feb 2010
beautifully written account of a woman artist's life as well as the musings of what it means to be a woman and closely associated with a famous man whose glory far surpassed her own recognition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Biography 3 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, I love the way Dorothea Tanning writes and nothing says it better, than writing your own life history. Rich in text and diversity, a compelling read on one of the greatest Surrealists of our time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want to have coffe with this artist 9 May 2011
By Stuart Pearson - Published on
Tanning turns out to be not just one of the most under-appreciated artists of her time, but a thoroughly delightful writer. The book is almost whimsical in its telling of her life with and without Max Ernst. Her descriptions of finding her muse, working against inertia, picking up emotional wreckage and continually finding herself anew are inspiring and told in such flowing prose you find yourself wanting to spend an afternoon with this wondrous woman. At the time of this review, she's still alive and kicking at 101 and I thank her so much for her extraordinary paintings, her delightful poetry (still getting published in New Yorker magazine) and this wonderful account of her life as artist/muse/wife and survivor.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring 25 Aug 2006
By unclechristo - Published on
I love this book. Ms Tanning writes with such a zest for life and creativity that I find it just spills over and communicates to the reader.

She lived an amzing life and came a long way from sleepy small town America. There was obviously a determination or a restless something at work.

Mosty of all I just enjoy the way she writes - it's a lively quircky style but to me it got across the kind of person I imagine Dorothea Tanning to be.

A work of character by a character -
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It Should Have Been So Much More 3 May 2003
By zahak - Published on
Indifferent writing, a surprising lack of insight into the incredible milieu in which she moved, and gratuitously catty remarks towards the great Leonora Carrington (an earlier Ernst protege who Tanning apparently feels threatened by 50 years after the fact) mar what should have been a very interesting memoir of a remarkable life. Tanning, Max Ernst's companion of 30 years and a compelling painter in her own right, was at the heart of one of the great artistic movements of the 20th Century, but this work reads like a flat travel log of places gone to and roll call of persons met. The paucity of detail,personal anectdotes, and characterization of any of the luminaries mentioned mark Tanning's bio as a great disappointment.
--A two star book with one star added because any information on this artistic epoch provided by an active participant has to be considered an important contribution.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into an American treasure. 3 July 2014
By MeanBrew - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
She was truely an American treasure and way before her time. This book gives some insight into her extraordinary life.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Between Lives: An Artist and Her World 29 Dec 2012
By Maria Tazlauanu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is very interesting if you like to know about the life and art of Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst. In addition to that you will find out about other great artists from the surrealist circle. The reason I gave it three stars is because I didn't like the style in which it was written.
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