Leonora Carrington

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Leonora Carrington
Born April 6, 1917 (1917-04-06) (age 91)
Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Occupation Surrealist painter

Leonora Carrington (born April 6, 1917) is a British-born artist, a surrealist painter and a novelist who now lives in Mexico.


[edit] Early life

Carrington was born in Clayton Green, South Lancaster, Lancashire[verification needed], England. Her father was a wealthy industrialist, her mother was Irish[citation needed]. She also had an Irish nanny, Mary Cavanaugh, who told her Gaelic tales. Leonora had three brothers. Places she lived as a child included a house called Crooksey Hall.[1]

Educated by governesses, tutors and nuns, she was expelled from many schools for her rebellious behavior until her family sent her to Florence where she attended Mrs. Penrose's Academy of Art. Her father was opposed to an artist's career for her, but her mother encouraged her. She returned to England and was presented at Court, but according to her, she brought a book to read by Aldous Huxley Eyeless in Gaza (1936), instead. In London she attended the Chelsea School of Art and joined the Academy of Amédée Ozenfant.[1]

She saw her first Surrealist painting in a Left Bank gallery in 1927 (when she was ten years old), and met many surrealists, including Paul Éluard. (She was already familiar with surrealism from Herbert Read's book.)[citation needed]

Leonora Carrington found little encouragement from her family to forge an artistic career. Matthew Gale, curator at Tate Modern, singled out Surrealist poet and patron Edward James as the only champion of her work in Britain. James bought many of her paintings, and in 1947 arranged a show for her work at Pierre Matisse's Gallery in New York. Some works are still hanging at his former family home now West Dean College in West Dean, West Sussex. [2]

[edit] Max Ernst

Carrington saw Max Ernst's work in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London where she was immediately attracted to the Surrealist artist before actually meeting him.

She met Max Ernst at a party in London in 1937. The artists bonded and returned to Paris together where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938 they left Paris and settled in Saint Martin d'Ardèche in the Provence region, of the south of France. The new couple collaborated and supported each other's artistic development. With the outbreak of World War II, Max Ernst was arrested by French authorities for being a "hostile alien". Thanks to the intercession of Paul Éluard, and other friends including the American journalist Varian Fry he was discharged a few weeks later.

Soon after the French occupation by the Nazis, he was arrested again, this time by the Gestapo, he managed to escape and flee to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, a sponsor of the arts.[3] After the Germans invaded their French village and took Ernst in custody in 1940, a devastated Carrington fled to Spain. Paralyzing anxiety and growing delusions culminated in a final breakdown at the British embassy in Madrid. Her parents intervened and had her institutionalized. She was given cardiazol, a powerful shock-inducing drug. When released into the care of a nurse who took her to Lisbon, Carrington ran away and sought refuge in the Mexican Embassy. Ernst meanwhile had been extricated from Europe with Peggy Guggenheim, but he and Carrington had experienced so much misery that they were unable to reconnect.

[edit] Mexico

After having escaped in Lisbon, Carrington arranged passage out of Europe with a Mexican diplomat who was a friend of Picasso. In fact, she married the diplomat as part of the travel arrangements. Events from that period would inform her work perhaps forever. She lives and works in Mexico and New York.

"I didn't have time to be anyone's muse...I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist." --Leonora Carrington, 1983

In Mexico she later married Emericko Weisz. They had two sons: Gabriel Weisz, an intellectual and a poet and Pablo Weisz, a surrealist artist and a doctor.[4]

[edit] Career

The first important exhibition of her work appeared in 1947 at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City. Leonora Carrington was invited to show her work in an international exhibition of Surrealism where she was the only female English professional painter. She became a celebrity almost overnight. In Mexico she authored and has had published several books.

[edit] Additional resources

  • Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement by Whitney Chadwick, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1985. With 220 illustrations, 20 in color.
  • "Visions: stories of women artists" by Leslie Sills, A. Whitman, Morton Grove, Illinois, 1993.
  • "Leonora Carrington- Surrealism, Alchemy and Art" by Susan L. Aberth. Lund Humphries, 2004.

[edit] Bibliography

  • La Maison de la Peur (1938) - with illustrations by Max Ernst
  • Une chemise de nuit de flanelle (1951)
  • El Mundo Magico de Los Mayas (1964) - illustrated by Leonora Carrington.
  • The Oval Lady: Surreal Stories (Capra Press, 1975)
  • The Hearing Trumpet (Routledge, 1976)
  • The Stone Door (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977)
  • The Seventh Horse and Other Tales (Dutton, 1988)
  • The House of Fear (Trans. K. Talbot and M. Warner. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1988)
  • The Hearing Trumpet (Boston: Exact Change, 1996)
  • The Spiritual Journey Of Alejandro Jodorowky (2008)

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b http://www.kalin.lm.com/carrint.html accessed online July 21, 2007
  2. ^ http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1981212,00.html#article_continue accessed online April4, 2008
  3. ^ http://www.abcgallery.com/E/ernst/ernstbio.html accessed online July 21, 2007
  4. ^ Tate online, Lucy Skaer on Leonora Carrington, The Transcendence of the Image, retrieved November 18, 2008

[edit] External links


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