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‘I just wanted to paint a white and grey picture that would still have colour in its veins as we have blood under our winter-white skin’, Tanning wrote of this work. Her engagement with surrealism began in the 1940s when she married Max Ernst. She has observed of herself: ‘as someone...who has chosen art, the making of it, the dedication to it, the breathing of it, this artist has pursued with a high heart that great aim; and has utterly failed to understand the pigeon-holing (or dove-coterie) of gender, convinced that it has nothing to do with qualifications or goals.’

October 2016