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Born Katherine Linn Sage on June 25, 1898, in Watervliet, New York, Kay Sage was an American surrealist painter. She was raised in a wealthy family, which allowed her to travel and attend prestigious schools. Sage's educational journey began at the Albany Academy for Girls (1908-1911) before continuing at the Brearley School for Girls in New York (1911-1914), and finally culminating at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg (1914-1915). In 1919, she began taking painting lessons in Washington D.C., and by 1920 she had moved to Rome to further her art studies.
Throughout the 1920s, Sage immersed herself in the European art scene. She was introduced to artists Giuseppe Battaglia, Carlo Carosi, and Emile Poujon and joined the group I Venticinque della Campagna Romana, led by artist Onorato Carlandi. In 1923, she was accepted into the Scuola Libera delle Belle Arti. Her first major exhibitions took place in the mid-1930s, showcasing her growing talent and artistic vision.
Sage's personal life was marked by her marriage to Ranieri di San Faustino, an Italian nobleman, in 1925. However, their marriage ended in the mid-1930s when Sage left him to pursue her passion for painting. She later met and married fellow surrealist painter Yves Tanguy in 1940.
As World War II began, Sage was living in Paris and became actively involved with the Surrealists. She played a crucial role in helping artists and intellectuals escape Europe, often arranging exhibitions in New York to support those affected by the war. In 1940, she held an exhibition of oil paintings at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, further establishing herself as a prominent figure in the art world.
Sage's social circle included prominent artists such as André Breton, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning, among others. She also maintained friendships with writers like Ezra Pound and Anais Nin. In the 1940s, Sage and Tanguy settled in Connecticut, where they continued to create art and entertain their circle of friends and fellow artists. Her artwork “At the Appointed Time” was included in the Exhibition by 31 Women.
Following Tanguy's death in 1955, Sage's own health began to decline. She struggled with vision problems due to cataracts, which greatly affected her ability to create art. On January 8, 1963, at her Woodbury, Connecticut home, Sage tragically took her own life.
Today, Kay Sage's artwork can be found in various museums and galleries around the world. She remains an influential figure in the world of Surrealism, celebrated for her unique artistic vision and unwavering dedication to her craft.