Dalvaux (1952) © Estate of Leonora Carrington.

biography

Leonora Carrington was one of the last remaining original Surrealists. She died in Mexico in 2011. With her passing and that of Dorothea Tanning our link to the magical, mystical female Surrealists such as Kahlo and Fini, Oppenheim and Miller, is gone. But the alchemy she created will always be with us in the work, in every brush stroke on the canvas.
Paul Page

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26.05.11: death announced

Rebellious British artist and author Leonora Carrington, who spent most of her life in Mexico, and was one of the last original surrealists, has died in Mexico City.

Mexico's National Arts Council confirmed the death of the prolific artist, 94, on Thursday, 26th May 2011. She had been suffering from a respiratory illness.

Her husband, the Hungarian-born writer-photographer Emerico "Chiki" Weisz, predeceased her in 2007, and she is survived by their two sons, Gabriel and Pablo.

Her body was taken to a Mexico City funeral home for viewing, and she was buried Thursday at the city's British cemetery.

A tributes page where you can view and leave your thoughts and messages with more images can be found here.

18.01.13: biography

Leonora Carrington was born in Lancashire, northern England in 1917. She was the 2nd child, the only daughter. Her parents were both very strict Catholics. Family was eldest Pat, then Leonora, Gerald and finally Arthur. Her parents changed houses often throughout the early years.

Carrington came into contact with Surrealism through her lover, the Surrealist painter Max Ernst (1891 - 1976). She met him after being invited to a dinner party hosted by Ursula Goldfinger, wife of the Hungarian revolutionary architect Erno Goldfinger. Ursula who was a member of the Blackwell family, of Cross and Blackwell fame. Ernst had an exhibition at a London gallery at the time just after the great Surrealist exhibition (around the mid 1930s).

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington in her studio

Ernst left his wife for Carrington, his Bride of the Wind. The couple lived together until the outbreak of the Second World War. She was with Ernst & the Surrealists in Paris when she was still in her early 20s, and would attend their famous meetings at the cafe in St. Germain-des-Pres.

As this was the period just preceding the 2nd World War Hitler's threat on the freedom of the whole of Europe was the main talking point.

When war was declared between France and Germany, Max Ernst was put in a concentration camp. As a German citizen he was held by the French. He was released then taken back in custody along with all the German citizens in the Marseilles area. Carrington was allowed to see him once, but only for two minutes. The Germans were getting closer so Michel Lukacs, his girlfriend Catherine and Carrington decided to escape. The only way out was through the south. They went to Perpnian and then to Andorra where Carrington's father shipped them to a mysterious Jesuit who got us through to Spain. Carrington's father wanted her back in England, but she did not go because she wanted to free Ernst.

Catherine and Leonora continued with the Jesuit who took them to Seo de Urgel in the city Cataluna, from there they went by car to Barcelona. She met up with Renato Leduc (a friend from Paris) in Madrid. He was a friend of Picasso's.

During this time she had several mental breakdowns. On one occasion she was institutionalized (by the intervention of her family in England) and given cardiazol, a powerful shock inducing drug. This drug was administered to many female patients from what doctors diagnosed or rather coined the term "hysteria".

After one breakdown , and whilst in Santader and in hospital, Carrington escaped, went to the Mexican Embassy and married Leduc, a Mexican diplomat. (Carrington has repeatedly stated over the years that though she like Renato this was a marriage of convenience). They then embarked by ship to the U.S..

Meanwhile, Ernst was with Peggy Guggenheim in Portugal.

She was to remain in Mexico from 1942 until 1985 when she moved to the United States. Among others there who she knew and was in close contact with were Andre Breton, Luis Bunuel, Andre Masson, Marc Chagall, Ozenfant and Marcel Duchamp.

Her circle also included Pierre Mabille, who encouraged her to write Down Below, Octavio Paz, Diego Rivera, and to a lesser extent, Frida Kahlo.

In the early period of her life in Mexico Carrington met the Hungarian immigrant Chiqui Weisz, a photographer, and married him in 1946. Their son, the artist Pablo Weisz Carrington was born in 1947, and was an illustrator of perhaps her best known book of fiction, The Hearing Trumpet.

During this long period of residence she, like Remedios Varo (1913 - 1963) (who became a great friend & was the partner of Benjamin Peret) was regarded as an integral part of the Mexican art scene. Also like Varo, Carrington had a passionate interest in the occult; many allusions to anostic doctrines appear in her work, as do references to techniques of divanation and prognostication and to ancient celtic mythology. She was, for example, greatly impressed by Robert Graves's book The White Goddess when this was first published in 1949. Reference to Mexican myths and legends are entirely absent but for one totally uncharacteristic exception: the mural she was commissioned to do for the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City in the room dedicated to the state of Chiapas.

Her great patron was Edward James who arranged her a show for Carrington in Pierre Matisse's gallery in New York in 1947. Her first exhibition in Mexico was at a furniture shop!

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington, later life

As well as painting, Carrington has been a profilic writer and storyteller. As mentioned her most famous piece was The Hearing Trumpet. It was set in the 1950s when she was around forty and was typed by herself on a Remington. A friend of mine, Albert Lewin, a film director, intended on publishing it in New York, but no one was interested in the theme. Finally, Henri Parisot wrote to her from Paris to ask about it and took over publishing the project.

Now residing in the Mexico, Leonora Carrington continues to work even though she is now well into her 80s. She has written a myriad of articles, novels, essays, and poems. She has produced thousands of paintings, sculptures, collages, and a number of tapestries.

Her work, especially in painting, will be remembered as some of the most important in female art of the 20th century. Her reputation is assured alongside female artist icons like Frida Kahlo and Leonor Fini.

Recommended Reading: Surreal Friends - Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington and Kati Horna

Advertise: Here :: April 14 - just $1.00 per week!

18.03.14: gallery



Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington - The Giantess
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington - Dalvaux (1952)
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington - Stoat Race (Ferret Race) (1951-52)
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington - Aardvark Groomed By Widows
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington - Self-Portrait (1936-37)
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Sin Título, 2002
Acrylic on paper
25.5 x 18 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Crow Soup, 1997
Lithograph
46 x 60 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Dos personajes con cuervos
Engraving
75 x 56 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Aparición, 1968
Drawing on paper
43 x 35 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Tapir con laberinto, 1998
Engraving
25 x 32.5 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Scéance, 1998
Lithograph
47 x 68 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Barrenderas
Acrylic on paper
46 x 61 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Monsieur
Drawing on paper
36 x 26 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington - Portrait of Maria
Drawing on paper
49 x 45 cm
© Estate of Leonora Carrington

Biog. | Gallery | Books | Tributes | Leonora Carrington Posters
Leonora Carrington Posters @ Amazon.co.uk
Surreal Friends Book Review
The House of Fear Japanese Book
Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement Book & Scans
Smartphone Website | Old Website

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Lee Miller | Salvador Dali
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18.01.13: books

Leonora Carrington
Die Ovale Dame...
German Book
Buy: Amazon.de (Germany)

Leonora Carrington
El Septimo Caballo
US Book
Buy: Amazon.com (US)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
The Hearing Trumpet
Japanese Book
Buy: Amazon.co.jp (Japan)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
Le Cornet Accoustique
French Book
Buy: Amazon.fr (France)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
The Hearing Trumpet
US Book
Buy:
Amazon.co.jp (Japan) | Amazon.de (Germany) | Amazon.fr (France) | Amazon.co.uk (UK) | Amazon.com (US)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
La Porte de Pierre
French Book
Buy:
Amazon.fr (France)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
The House of Fear
Japanese Book
Buy:
Amazon.co.jp (Japan)

Leonora Carrington
The House of Fear
UK Book
Buy:
Amazon.de (Germany)
Amazon.com (US)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington
German Biography Book
Buy:
Amazon.co.jp (Japan) | Amazon.de (Germany)

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington: A Retrospective Exhibition
US Book
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Amazon.com (US)

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington : The Mexican years (1943 - 1985)
US Book
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Amazon.co.jp (Japan) | Amazon.com (US)

leonora carrington
Silvana Schmid
Loplops Geheimnis: Max Ernst & Leonora Carrington in Sudfrankreich
German book
Buy:
Amazon.de (Germany)

Leonora Carrington, Ripley, Pournelle
Ripley's Reissue No. 11
US Book
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Leonora Carrington
The Oval Lady, Other Stories: Six Surreal Stories
US Book
Buy:
Amazon.com (US)

Leonora Carrington
The Seventh Horse and Other Tales
UK Book
Buy:
Amazon.de (Germany)
Amazon.com (US)

Leonora Carrington
Stone Door
UK Book
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Amazon.co.uk (UK) | Amazon.com (US)

Various
Visions: Stories About Women Artists
US Book
Buy:
Amazon.com (US)

18.01.13: posters

leonora carrington
Leonora Carrington
The Giantess
Poster
Buy: Amazon.co.uk (UK)

18.01.13: More Leonora Carrington posters at Amazon.co.uk. Direct link.

Biog. | Gallery | Books | Tributes
Surreal Friends Book Review
The House of Fear Japanese Book
Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement Book & Scans
Smartphone Website | Old Website

Leonor Fini | Frida Kahlo
Remedios Varo
Lee Miller | Salvador Dali
Max Ernst

Art Store

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