Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)
Sketch for Pictor Mysteriosa (Burnt Umbrage)
graphite and ink on paper
9 x 11 ⅞ in. (22.9 x 30.2 cm.)
Executed in 1997.
Estate of the artist
Alison Jacques Gallery, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Special notice
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Lot Essay

The present work is a sketch for a painting of the same title. The painting belongs to a series of 12 paintings of imaginary flowers, captured in a book, Another Language of Flowers (New York: George Braziller 1998), with poems written by poet friends. The poem for this work is by Adrienne Rich:

"Pictor mysteriosa (Burnt Umbrage)"

Pistil, stamen and bract
but never abstract:
the flower becomes the eye
we see her by.

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