The art of Leonor Fini, 1907–1996

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Painter, illustrator and novelist Leonor Fini has been mentioned here before in a post about women Surrealist artists but her wonderful paintings deserve renewed attention. There’s an official site and galleries here (follow the links at the bottom of the page) and here but her work is so profuse and varied there could easily stand to be more.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Michel Henricot
Surrealist women

The fantastic art archive

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Previous posts about fantastic, surreal or visionary artists.

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The Execution of the Testament of the Marquis de Sade by Jean Benoît

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Ernst Fuchs, 1977

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Ernst Fuchs, 1930–2015

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The art of Aleksandr Kosteckij

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The art of Fabrizio Clerici, 1913–1993

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The art of Victor Linford, 1940–2002

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Heimkiller and High

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The Man Who Paints Monsters In The Night

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Hans by Sibylle

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The art of Jean-Michel Mathieux-Marie

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Gilles Rimbault redux

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Albert Goodwin’s fantasies

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The art of Roland Cat

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The art of James Gleeson, 1915–2008

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Sidney Sime paintings

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The art of Joanna Chrobak

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Giger’s Tarot

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Giger’s Necronomicon

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The art of Thomas Cole, 1801–1848

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Raymond Bertrand paintings

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Raymond Bertrand’s science fiction covers

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Visionaries: The Art of the Fantastic

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Starowieyski in Switzerland

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The art of Luis Toledo

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Jacques Brissot’s Hay Wain

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The art of Jindrich Styrsky, 1899–1942

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The art of Robert Venosa, 1936–2011

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Initiations in the Abyss: A Surrealist Apocalypse

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The fantastic and apocalyptic art of Bruce Pennington

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The art of Leonidas Kryvosej

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The art of Johfra Bosschart, 1919–1998

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The art of Aloys Zötl, 1803–1887

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Sibylle Ruppert revisited

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Sibylle Ruppert, 1942–2011

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In the Land of Retinal Delights

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Gilles Rimbault revisited

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The art of Martin Wittfooth

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The art of Carel Willink, 1900–1983

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Wilfried Sätty: Artist of the occult

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The art of Ran Akiyoshi, 1922–1982

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The art of Gilles Rimbault

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The art of Michael Hutter

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Boy, O Boy by Julie Heffernan

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The art of Jim Leon, 1938–2002

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Surrealist echoes

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The art of Laurie Hogin

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The art of Christian rex Van Minnen

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Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism

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The art of Oleg Denysenko

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The art of François Schuiten

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The art of Sibylle Ruppert

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The eyes of Odilon Redon

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Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists

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Franciszek Starowieyski, 1930–2009

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The art of Boris Indrikov

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The art of Mati Klarwein, 1932–2002

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The art of Pierre Clayette, 1930–2005

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The monstrous tome

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A Midsummer Night’s Dadd

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The art of Ian Miller

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The art of Leonor Fini, 1907–1996

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The art of Michel Henricot

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The art of Heidi Taillefer

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Set in Stone

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Against Nature: The hybrid forms of modern sculpture

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The art of Jean-Paul Faccon

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The art of Andrew Severynko

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The Hound of Heaven by RH Ives Gammell

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The art of Jean Carriès, 1855–1894

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Visions and the art of Nick Hyde

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The art of Julie Heffernan

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Custom creatures

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The art of Harold Hitchcock

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The art of Agostino Arrivabene

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The art of Takato Yamamoto

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The art of NoBeast

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A Madmen’s Museum

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The art of Andrey Avinoff, 1884–1949

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Imaginary maps by Francesca Berrini

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The art of Jacques Sultana

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Fantastic art from Pan Books

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The art of Jean Benoît

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The art of Bertrand

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Pierre Matter’s cyborg sculpture

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The art of José Hernández

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Czanara’s Hermaphrodite Angel

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The art of Sergei Aparin

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The art of Nicola Verlato

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The art of Stephen Aldrich

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The art of Rudolf Hausner, 1914–1995

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The art of Erik Desmazières

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The Codex Seraphinianus

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Surrealist women

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Leonora Carrington

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Two American paintings

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The art of Thomas Häfner, 1928–1985

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The art of Arnau Alemany

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The art of Jean Louis Ricaud

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The art of Gérard Trignac

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The Museum of Fantastic Specimens

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The art of Franz Xavier Messerschmidt, 1736–1783

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The art of Ernst Fuchs

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The art of Jean-Marie Poumeyrol

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Las Pozas and Edward James

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The art of Jean-Pierre Ugarte

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The art of Ljuba Popovic

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The art of Stanislav Szukalski, 1893–1987

More archive pages:
The archive page archive

Surrealist women

Was the Surrealist movement the first art grouping to give female creators more of an equivalent status to their male counterparts? The recent posting about Leonora Carrington had me considering this question again (yes, this is what taxes my brain while it’s awake). The answer isn’t so easy to find since women artists had been emerging gradually since the late 19th century, from Berthe Morisot onwards. Women certainly played a greater role in the development of Surrealism than they were allowed to do in earlier art movements, and their work is continually featured in histories of the period. The men were still accorded all the glory, of course, and many of the women were only given an opportunity by virtue of being wives or lovers of the male artists, but they still managed to map out their own imaginative territory. The following are some of the more notable examples.

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Birthday by Dorothea Tanning (b.1910).
My personal favourite, a very accomplished painter who married Max Ernst.

Continue reading “Surrealist women”

Leonora Carrington

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The Guardian profiles the wonderful Leonora Carrington, one of the last of the original Surrealists. There’s little excuse for the Tate’s neglect as recounted below, Marina Warner has championed her work for years and she was the subject of a TV documentary in the BBC’s Omnibus strand in the 1990s. Maybe the Tate curators should watch more television.

Leonora and me

Leonora Carrington ran off with Max Ernst, hung out with Picasso, fled the Nazis and escaped from a psychiatric hospital. Joanna Moorhead travels to Mexico to track down her long-lost cousin, one of Britain’s finest—and neglected—surrealists.

Joanna Moorhead
Tuesday January 2, 2007
The Guardian

A few months ago, I found myself next to a Mexican woman at a dinner party. I told her that my father’s cousin, whom I’d never met and knew little about, was an artist in Mexico City. “I don’t expect you’ve heard of her, though,” I said. “Her name is Leonora Carrington.”
The woman was taken aback. “Heard of her? My goodness, everyone in Mexico has heard of her. Leonora Carrington! She’s hugely famous. How can she be your cousin, and yet you know nothing about her?”

How indeed? At home, I looked her up, and found myself plunged into a world of mysterious and magical paintings. Dark canvases dominated by a large, sinister-looking house; strange and slightly menacing women, mostly tall and wearing big cloaks; ethereal figures, often captured in the process of changing from one form to another; faces within bodies; long, spindly fingers; horses, dogs and birds.

I remembered from childhood hearing stories about a cousin who had disappeared “to be an artist’s model”. But the truth was infinitely richer and more thrilling. Leonora Carrington, born into a bourgeois family, eloped at the age of 20 to live with the surrealist artist, Max Ernst (married, and some 20 years her senior). The couple fled across war-torn Europe in the late 1930s, and she later settled in Mexico, where she continued to paint, write and sculpt.

Most excitingly, though, Leonora was still alive – aged nearly 90 and living in a suburb of Mexico City with her husband, a Hungarian photographer. I contacted my Carrington cousins and discovered that one of them had visited her a couple of years ago: she was, he reported, on amazing form, and still working. I wrote to ask whether she’d be prepared to meet. Word came back that she would, and a few weeks later I flew to Mexico City.

Leonora Carrington looks eerily like my father – the same piercing eyes, the same trace of an upper-class English accent. We met at her house, and she led me through her dark dining room, crammed with her sculptures, to the kitchen where we were to spend most of the next three days, chatting endlessly over cups of Lipton’s tea (“I hardly touch alcohol,” she told me. “Enough people in our family have died of drink. Anyway I smoke, and it’s too much to drink and smoke.”)

Leonora was born in 1917, the only daughter (she had three brothers) of textile magnate Harold Carrington and his Irish wife, Maurie Moorhead, my grandfather’s older sister. Harold and Maurie were very different characters: where he was entrepreneurial, Protestant and a workaholic, Maurie was easy-going, Catholic and open-minded. The family home was an imposing mansion in Lancashire, Crookhey Hall – the sinister house that features in many of her paintings.

Leonora was expelled from three or four schools, but the one thing she did learn was a love of art. Her father was not keen on her going to art college, but her mother intervened and she was allowed to go and study in Florence. There, she was exposed to the Italian masters, whose love of gold, vermilion and earth colours were to inspire her later work.

She returned to England brimming with enthusiasm for the artist’s life, but her father had other ideas. As far as he was concerned, she had sown her wild oats and now needed to come back to earth. This meant launching her as a debutante: a ball was held in her honour at the Ritz, and she was presented to George V. A few years later, in a surreal short story The Debutante, she poured out her loathing of “the season”, with a witty description of sending a hyena along to take her place at her coming-out ball.

In 1936, the first surrealist exhibition opened in London – for Leonora, something of an epiphany. “I fell in love with Max [Ernst]’s paintings before I fell in love with Max,” she says. She met Ernst at a dinner party. “Our family weren’t cultured or intellectual – we were the good old bourgeoisie, after all,” she says. “From Max I had my education: I learned about art and literature. He taught me everything.”

Continues here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Las Pozas and Edward James
Surrealist cartomancy