The Birthday

The Birthday-Dorothea Tanning 1942
Max Ernst was intrigued when he first saw Dorothea Tanning’s enigmatic self-portrait, which he suggested should be called The Birthday; she agreed that it was an apt choice. After playing chess they fell in love, as Surrealist’s were wont to do. They married in 1946 in a joint wedding with Man Ray and Juliet Browner. They remained together until Ernst’s death in 1976. She would outlive Ernst by a further 36 years, living to the grand old age of 102, the last of the Surrealists.

A writer as well as a painter, Tanning’s memoir is entitled Birthday.

45 thoughts on “The Birthday

      1. Absolutely. I’m biased though. Attraction is very fickle and yet it’s the crux of the romance. It’s wonderful that they stayed together for so long. I sometimes wonder what would happen, and this would be a surrealist novel idea, let’s say a man woke up every morning and every single woman in the world was exactly his type. Cloned to his exact specifications. If his tastes changed the clones would change. Do you imagine that would be a nightmare? But would men do if they weren’t distracted so much by the hunt.


  1. Coming late to this conversation. Dorothea Tanning’s work has impressed me for a long time, and if I remember correctly Birthday was the image that intrigued me initially. Tanning did quite a few disturbing images with pubescent girls in them: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one such and it features lots of doors. Another is The Guest Room on Tannings’ Trust webpage. This features a gloriously rambling explanation of the genesis of the work. You may already know all this but others may not.

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    1. Thank you Indigo for this…I featured Eine Klein Nachtmusik in a previous post in Alice inspired art…I will send you the link. I look forward to reading the gloriously rambling explanation. Thanks again


      1. oops sorry, I haven’t had time to get far into your site yet, but what I’ve seen to date is extremely interesting and detailed. I’ll try to be a little more on the ball next time. Indie

        Liked by 1 person

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