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Between Lives: An Artist and Her World
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Between Lives: An Artist and Her World

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  91 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Fourteen years ago, the artist 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, and muse to some of its most inspired minds and personalities: a diverse assemblage that ranges from the fathers of dada and surrealism to Virgil Thompson, George Balanch ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton Company (first published August 2001)
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Eddie Watkins
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book had me swirling.

One page enraptured…

The next alienated.


Or rather – Woman –






Naturally mythic

But swirly, diaphanous, veiled, veiled, veiled,

and veiled again.

Houri. Belly dancer.

Specifically ambiguous. Alluring. Intimately distant.

Is it offensive to say that in this book Dorothea Tanning expressed herself in an exclusively feminine way, in a way that no man could, or should even want to?

Counter to the brain worlds men build,

yet she could
ETA 02/03/12: Dorothea Tanning has died. Hearing the news sort of makes me want to go home and curl up in a pile of her paintings.


Dorothea Tanning is known most for her paintings and as a sculptor. She was also a writer, and this book is a nice venture into a different landscape of an artist. She married Surrealist painter Max Ernst in the Forties, and he introduced her to Surrealism. One of her more popular Surrealist paintings is Eine kleine Nachtmusik though I am personally equally fasci
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over several months, as the burgeoning of a dream in my own life grew and took hold, was pursued and gradually (now) is coming to its fierce conclusion. It seems fitting that this memoir, which is as much about the life of the artist (specifically a female, moderately successful visual artist) as it is the seemingly infinite parade of celebrities, artists, novelists, writers, actors, and characters Tanning encounters in her world of the title, was my chosen accompaniment to my p ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow...
Lacey Christiansen
Dorothea Tanning is a wonderful artist and I am a fan of her artwork. Being so, I chose to include her in a research paper that I wrote about women Surrealists and their contributions to the movement. I picked this book up in hopes that it would offer some insights into both her work and her personal life. What I found was overtly flowery language (I should have expected as much as she was a successful poet) and a kind of strange layering of anecdotal snapshots from her life in a roughly linear ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fiercely adored this memoir. The childhood was done with such a light touch, so impressionistically. And her rah-rah youth with great subtlety. She had fun, you know, without your knowing. Ernst comes through...want to know more. And she dances around her career, yet ends with a focus on it that is loving. Not quite elliptical the whole, not reserved, and yet, deeply bounded while equally pleasing. Wish I could write this way.
Mar 05, 2010 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Chrissie by: Daisy
Shelves: arts, bio, text-checked
Memoir of Dorothea Tanning, the wife of Surrealist painter Max Ernst and their friendship with other like-minded artists such as Giacometti, Miro and ballet choreographer George Balanchine. I need to read this book b/c I adore the "friends" mentioned. Have you seen a ballet by Balanchine? Everyone can spot a tall, thin Giacometti figure and Miro.....

Wow Daisy, where did you find this book?!
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2014
Beautiful writing and exceptional life lived.
Nov 18, 2013 marked it as to-read
Jo Ann Beard mentions this in the interview at the back of In Zanesville .
Jai Clare
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Been meaning to read this for ages. Finally getting to it! Dorothea Tanning married max Ernst and recently in her 90s published her first novel. Amazing painter too!
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Spectacularly overwritten but the first chapter is worthwhile and there are some interesting, gossipy bits throughout.
Marney Kennedy
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ms. Tanning has written a loving look of life and art with her famous husband Max Ernst. She paints a book with words that are so poignant you are totally immersed in her feelings.
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Dorothea Tanning was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor and writer. She has also designed sets and costumes for ballet and theatre.