American, born 1910
Fabric, wool and lace
Dorothea Tanning is an artist associated with Surrealism, which delves into the realm of the unconscious mind, celebrating the irrational, the imaginary, the dream and the instinctual.
Emma, the title of this enigmatic work, refers to Emma Bovary, the tragic character who dies from arsenic in Gustave Flaubert’s 19th-century novel Madame Bovary. The semi-abstract sculpture, with its rounded breasts, abdomen with navel and limb-like extrusion, suggests a disassembled and reconfigured female form. Femininity is accentuated by the addition of a lace garment that encircles the form. This bizarre, distorted and somewhat monstrous body can only have been born from the realm of the unconscious. Emma is “sur” real– above and outside the real world as we know it.
Purchase, acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee, 2006.27
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Heavy meaning to that piece of art… she looks like a very large, well dressed, pin cushion to me and I mean no disrespect with that comment. I LOVE my pincushions. : )