Kay Sage (1893-1963)
Date: 1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 3/8 H x 28 W
Inscription: Signed and dated, lower right: Kay Sage '37
Credit: Gift of the estate of Kay Sage Tanguy
Accession Number: 1964.35
Comments: Kay Sage, an internationally known Surrealist painter, was born in Albany. Monolith is one of her earliest Surrealist-inspired works, and shows a rock formation of unknown scale set next to architectural elements in an undefined landscape. The configuration of rounded and smoothed stones takes on a biomorphic (resembling a living organism) form, in this case, phallic. This use of abstracted forms to suggest organic, figurative elements was a common feature of Surrealism. Her use of muted tones and precisely articulated forms rendered in smoothly painted surfaces became part of Sage's distinctive style. Later in her career, Sage moved away from biomorphic forms and established her own vocabulary of sharp, spiny forms that were unique among the Surrealists. Sage is one of many women artists whose artistic contributions have been underestimated because they were connected with better-known men. (Sage was married to fellow Surrealist artist Yves Tanguy.)