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Lurid Sky


Tanguy, Yves, Lurid Sky
Photo Credit: 

MHC Digitization Center

On View
Tanguy, Yves
French (1900-1955)
Place made: 
Europe; France
Lurid Sky, 1929
Oil on canvas
Frame: 39 in x 33 in x 2 1/2 in; 99.1 cm x 83.8 cm x 6.4 cm; Stretcher: 31 1/4 in x 24 7/8 in; 79.4 cm x 63.2 cm
Gift of Mrs. John Lee Bunce (Eleanor Howland, Class of 1926)
MH 1953.5.M.PI

Originally titled Maintenant, Yves Tanguy’s painting was renamed Lurid Sky in 1936 when it was shown in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Its original title, meaning “now” in English, may have been a reference to the state of Europe after World War I, the desolation and destruction of which permeates this unsettling image.

Tanguy constructs a hallucinatory dreamscape in Lurid Sky by mixing realism and fantasy: cloud-like forms float in this vivid atmosphere, but they are mingled with mysterious, dark shapes. A distinct horizon line grounds us in space, while a sickly yellow sky seems to travel infinitely into the distance. These juxtapositions of the recognizable and unknown are a hallmark of surrealism, and provoke a sense of dreamlike unease.

-Katia Kiefaber, Art Museum Advisory Board Fellow, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2017)