Capricorn Hill | Visit Sedona

Capricorn Hill

Take a tour of the historic home of renowned surrealists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning who lived in Sedona from 1943 to 1957.

Artists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, two iconic surrealists spent a significant amount of time in Sedona, Ariz. 

Max Ernst was a pioneer of Surrealism and Dadaism and is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Dorothea Tanning was a celebrated painter, sculptor, memoirist, novelist and poet. She was a force of nature crossing the century mark and producing work through her very last days. Tanning was famous first for her surrealist paintings, later for her abstract “prism” pieces, yet again for her soft sculptures and finally for the power of her prose and poetry.

Both artists were drawn to Sedona for its natural beauty and mystical energy and found inspiration in the stunning landscapes and vibrant art community of the region. They bought some land and built a small house, which Tanning named Capricorn Hill, although she wasn’t sure why. 

While Ernst worked in a studio around back, Tanning painted in the house. Both embarked on productive periods, inspired by the dramatic colors and ever-changing light that was now part of their daily lives. Tanning completed one of her most famous works during her time in Sedona. "Self-Portrait" reveals a small figure amid a landscape of towering monoliths scraped by an epic sky.

The presence of Ernst and Tanning marked the beginning of Sedona’s rise as an artistic center. The quiet community of such phenomenal beauty was about to be discovered by creative types. Capricorn Hill played host to a stream of renowned visitors from the art world including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Miller, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, William Copley, Kay Sage, Yves Tanguy, Roland Penrose and Dylan Thomas.

Tip: View the actual room that Dorothea Tanning used as her studio and tour the grounds where the sculpture Capricorn once stood.

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