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Kay Sage papers, 1925-circa 1985, bulk 1950-1965

Kay Sage papers, 1925-circa 1985, bulk 1950-1965

Sage, Kay, 1898-1963

Painter, Illustrator

The papers of Kay Sage in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 443 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 0.4 linear feet

Summary: Information about Sage's life as an abstract and surrealist artist and her relationship with her husband, artist Yves Tanguy, are found in this small collection of biographical materials, correspondence, printed material, and photographs.

Sadly, the papers contain Sage's suicide note and her own personal arrangements for her funeral and estate. Correspondence concerns business and personal matters and is with galleries, museums, and family and friends. Correspondents include Dorothea Tanning, Pierre and Patricia Matisse, John S. Monagan, Hans and Fridel Richter, and Yves's sister, Emilie Tanguy, as well as the Catherine Viviano Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art. The papers do not contain documentation of Sage's early career while she was living in Europe, and very little about her husband Yves Tanquy. There are photographs of Kay and Yves and their home "Town Farm" in Connecticut.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kay Sage (1898-1963) was a painter from Woodbury, Connecticut. Married surrealist painter Yves Tanguay.

Provenance

Material on reel 2013 lent for microfilming 1980 by John S. Monagan, attorney for Sage's estate, and subsequently donated in 1989. Unmicrofilmed material donated by Monagan in 1994.

Related Materials

Also available at the Archives of American Art are the Flora Whitney Miller papers regarding Kay Sage, as well as "China Eggs," Kay Sage's unpublished memoirs covering the period circa 1910 to 1935, available on microfilm reel 685.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • "Fiddlesticks" game: Transferred to Joseph Cornell Study Center, National Museum of American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Kay Sage Papers,
1925 - circa 1985
(bulk 1950-1965)
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.sagekay
Finding aid prepared by Erin Corley
Scope and Content Note
The scattered papers of surrealist painter Kay Sage measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1925 to circa 1985, with the bulk of the material dating from 1950 to 1965. Information about Sage's life as an abstract and surrealist artist and her relationship with her husband, artist Yves Tanguy are found in this small collection of biographical materials, correspondence, printed material, and photographs.
Sadly, the papers contain Sage's suicide note and her own personal arrangements for her funeral and estate. Correspondence concerns business and personal matters and is with galleries, museums, and family and friends. Correspondents include Dorothea Tanning, Pierre and Patricia Matisse, John S. Monagan, Hans and Fridel Richter, and Yves's sister, Emilie Tanguy, as well as the Catherine Viviano Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art. The papers do not contain documentation of Sage's early career while she was living in Europe, and very little about her husband Yves Tanquy. There are photographs of Kay and Yves and their home "Town Farm" in Connecticut.
Biographical Note
Kay Sage was born Katherine Linn Sage in Albany, New York in 1898 to Ann and Henry Manning Sage, a state senator. After her parents divorced she lived in Europe with her mother from 1900 to 1914, spending most of that time in Italy. She returned to the United States for schooling from 1914 to 1919 and then returned to Italy where she worked for a short time at the Scuola Libera delle Belle Arti in Rome. In 1925 she married Prince Ranieri di San Faustino, but they divorced in 1935. Around this time Sage began to paint in an abstract style, and quickly developed an interest in surrealism. She had her first solo exhibition in Italy in 1936 and the next year moved to Paris where she met surrealist painter Yves Tanguy. Tanguy introduced her to other surrealist painters in Paris and she soon began exhibiting with them. During World War II, Sage returned to the United States. In 1940 she and Tanguy were married, and that same year she had her first American exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City. In 1941 she and Tanguy settled in Woodbury, Connecticut and named their home "Town Farm". Sage and Tanguy continued to exhibit their work with great success, ultimately leading to a joint exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1954.
After Yves Tanguy's death in 1955 Sage experienced extreme grief and depression for the rest of her life. She did, however, continue to exhibit at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York City, which also managed the sale of her paintings. This partnership culminated in a retrospective exhibition of her work in 1960. Sage started to lose her sight in the late 1950s and stopped painting and began making collages. She also wrote three volumes of poetry which were published in 1957 and 1962. The last few years of her life were spent working on a catalogue of her husband's work for which she wrote the foreword. In January 1963 Kay Sage committed suicide at the age of 64.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into four series:
Series 1: Biographical Material and Business Records, 1925-1963, circa 1985 (Box 1; 9 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-1963 (Box 1; 5 folders)
Series 3: Printed Material, circa 1930-1974 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Series 4: Photographs, circa 1950-1965 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Provenance
Material on reel 2013 lent for microfilming 1980 by John S. Monagan, attorney for Sage's estate, and subsequently donated in 1989. Unmicrofilmed material donated by Monagan in 1994.
Location of Originals
  • "Fiddlesticks" game: Transferred to Joseph Cornell Study Center, National Museum of American Art.
Processing Information
Material loaned in 1980 for microfilming on reel 2013 and subsequently donated in 1989 was merged with the later 1994 accretion during archival processing in 2006 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant. The collection was digitized in 2007.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Kay Sage papers, 1925-circa 1985, bulk 1950-1965. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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