A Finding Aid to the Kay Sage Papers, 1925 - circa 1985 (bulk 1950-1965), in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.sagekay
Creators:
Sage, Kay
Dates:
1925 - circa 1985
bulk 1950-1965
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.4 Linear feet
Repository:
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.

Scope and Content Note
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.

Arrangement
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)

Biographical Note
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.

Administration
Separated Material
A game, "Fiddlesticks" given to Sage from Joseph Cornell and donated to the Archives of American Art as part of this collection was removed and transferred to the Joseph Cornell Study Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Alternative Forms Available
The papers of Kay Sage in the Archives of American Art were digitized in
2007
, and total
443
images.
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.
Author
Erin Corley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Provenance
John S. Monagan, attorney for Kay Sage's estate loaned a portion of this collection for microfilming in 1980 and subsequently donated the same material in 1989, as well as additional materials in 1994.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
This collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Kay Sage papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Kay Sage papers, 1925-circa 1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Material
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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Surrealism -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters -- Connecticut -- Woodbury Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Connecticut -- Woodbury Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Monagan, John S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Catherine Viviano Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tanguy, Yves, 1900-1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/