Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Kathleen Chapman


In 1955, American artist Dorothea Tanning abandoned her figurative Surrealist renderings of dream-like scenarios in favor of a complexly abstract and fragmented style of painting. With few exceptions, the ways in which Tanning’s later works function independently of her earlier paintings tends to be downplayed in the scholarship on her oeuvre. Equally sparse is the scholarship on Tanning’s dog imagery, which pervades her oeuvre but becomes most apparent in her later phase. This thesis seeks to shift attention toward Tanning’s later abstract paintings; it also seeks to fill the gap in scholarship on Tanning’s dogs. Specifically, through the study of five Tanning paintings from the late 1950s and 1960s, with the theoretical aid of Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of the becoming-animal, this thesis will investigate how Tanning’s post-1955 paintings create and promote new ways for viewers to think about the relations between humans and animals in the human-dominated modern world.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013