Dorothea Tanning, Maternity, 1946-47

A forlorn woman stands in a desert holding her fretful baby. An open door doesn’t seem to lead to opportunity, but rather, an object we can’t make sense of. A filial dog with a baby’s face lies on a white blanket at the woman’s feet. We notice that her white dress is shredded from the belly downwards.
Tanning never had kids, and she was terrified of the thought. Instead, she kept a Pomeranian throughout her life (hence the dog here with the face of a baby). Women artists had to make a choice back then: spend your time raising a family or spend your time in the studio. Indeed, this is still something we struggle with.

Leave a Reply