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.