The Last Surrealist
May 26, 2011 11:48 PM   Subscribe

Leonora Carrington, one of the few living links to the movement that counted Dali, Ernst, Tanguy, and Man Ray as its members, passed away Wednesday at the age of 94. Born in Britain, she earned her surrealist credentials primarily as a painter, but also as a novelist. Forced to flee Europe during WWII, she ended up in Mexico, where she championed another expat European female artist, Remedios Varo. Though both were overshadowed by the more flamboyant Frida Kahlo, all three were strongly influenced by the culture of Mexico, and took surrealism in a new, and decidedly feminine direction.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Her novel The Hearing Trumpet is fantastic, in at least two senses.

Also, this:
posted by girandole at 12:22 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Of course, I'd heard of Frida, but I'm not a trained painter, so had never heard of the other two women in spite of the fact that I tend to research female artists on frequent library trips.

I pulled up google image searches of both women, and ... oh wow. I tend to use quite a bit of spiral, trio, bone, and floral imagery and I'm blown away.

Thank you so much for introducing me to new potential heroes. These women are on my list for Saturday's library trip.


posted by lilywing13 at 12:37 AM on May 27, 2011

posted by plep at 12:44 AM on May 27, 2011

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:00 AM on May 27, 2011

Thanks for this. Britain ignored her. Mexico adored her
Known mainly for her paintings she published in 1947 her recollections, if that is the right word, of her 1940's incarceration in an asylum in Santander after her breakdown.
"Down Below" came complete with maps and this quote
"The task of the right eye is to peer into the telescope, while the left eye peers into the microscope."
Her cousin, who she had never previously met, interviewed her in 2007.
Joanna Moorhead also wrote her obituary for the Guardian.
"She was the most honest, and the bravest, person I ever met."
Some of her work from A gallery on Picassa and of her sculptures.

posted by adamvasco at 1:44 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thank you so much for introducing me to new potential heroes

this exactly.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:02 AM on May 27, 2011

posted by klausness at 2:20 AM on May 27, 2011

There's a great chapter in this book I have "The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky" with a chapter about her.

"During a party, Luis Bunuel, seduced by Carrington's beauty and emboldened by the notion that she had transcended all bourgeois morality, proposed (with his characteristic bluntness) that she become his mistress. Without even waiting for her answer, he gave her the key to the secret studio that he used as a love nest and told her to meet him at three o'clock the next afternoon. Early the next morning, Leonora went to visit the place alone. She found it tasteless: it looked exactly like a motel room. Taking advantage of the fact that she was in her menstrual period, she covered her hands with blood and used them to make bloody handprints all over the walls in order to provide a bit of decoration for that anonymous, impersonal room. Bunuel never spoke to her again."
posted by TheCoyote23 at 3:05 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

For me she is an interesting painter rather than a truly great one. She was highly respected in Mexico however, yesterday on Twitter all the reaction was from there. She's forgotten in the UK.

For those looking for other great, little known female artists check out these names -

Maria Blanchard
Annie Swynnerton
Maria Izquierdo
Maria Sibylla Merian
Dod Procter
Agnes Goodsir
Lotte Laserstein
Fanny Churberg
Louisa Matthíasdóttir
Meredith Frampton
Rita Angus
Zinaida Serebriakova
Sofonisba Anguissola
Vera Rockline
Charlotte Salomon
Doris Zinkeisen
Prudence Heward
Olga Boznanska
Phoebe Anna Traquair
Georgette Chen
Anita Ree

One other wonderful, little known painter of Mexico is Hermenegildo Bustos. See his works here, and read about him here. A first rate portrait painter.
posted by fire&wings at 3:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

I had no idea she was still alive! RIP
posted by OmieWise at 3:59 AM on May 27, 2011

One of the greatest women that ever lived.
posted by aletheia at 5:51 AM on May 27, 2011

posted by kozad at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2011

Wow, 94 years of age. Good for her.

I've been an admirer of her painting for decades, and I didn't know she was an author! How the hell does that happen?!
posted by heyho at 7:43 AM on May 27, 2011

Heyho: Her (several) books and short stories are quite brilliant, and likely to be enjoyed by fans of her art.
posted by aletheia at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2011

I saw an exhibition of some of her work at the Dallas Museum of Art a year or two ago - fantastic imagery that was so easy to get lost in. Visited that gallery at least twice before it was replaced with something else.

posted by owtytrof at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2011

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