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Kay Sage (American, 1898–1963)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American painter and writer. She took courses at the Corcoran Art School, Washington, DC (1914–18), and studied drawing and painting in Rome at the British Academy and at the Scuola Libera delle Belle Arti (1920). From 1925 to 1935 she was married to Prince Ranieri di San Faustino and lived in Rome and Rapallo. In 1937 she moved to Paris. Her near-abstract paintings of this period were influenced by Giorgio de Chirico and Yves Tanguy. They frequently contain architectural motifs and geometric forms crowded together and lit from the side, for example A Little Later (1938; Denver, CO, A. Mus.). In 1938 Sage joined the circle of Surrealist artists around André Breton (see Surrealism). After the outbreak of World War II, she returned to New York where she married Tanguy in 1940, moving to Woodbury, CT, in 1941. In the mid-1940s she began to introduce scaffolding motifs, sometimes combined with draped forms, into the barren landscapes of her paintings, as in All Soundings are Referred to High Water (1947; Middletown, CT, Wesleyan U., Davison A. Cent.). Almost invisible brushwork, mysterious light and sharp, clean edges characterize her works at this time. After Tanguy’s death (1955), Sage suffered severe depression and also began to go blind. She stopped painting in 1958 and underwent several eye operations. She made collage reliefs, using tinfoil, glass, wire, small stones, wicker and other materials (e.g. Contraband, 1961; Waterbury, CT, Mattatuck Hist. Soc. Mus.), and between 1957 and 1962 she published four books of poetry. In 1963 she shot herself.

Nina Lübbren
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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