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Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) :


Jan. 2013: New biog. & gallery added. Smartphone page here.

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.


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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

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.

leonora carrington

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..

leonora carrington

Meanwhile, Ernst was with Peggy Guggenheim in Portugal.

She was to remain in Mexico i 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.

leonora carrington

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

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.



leonora carrington
remedios varo
surreal friends
book review - here

outstanding book accompanying the 2010 uk exhibition of leonora carrington & remedios varo. essential reading for any fan and won't be around forever!

also available: amazon.com (us)



leonora carrington



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wares:

Books:



  • leonora carrington
    the house of fear
    japanese book 1979

    (see more scans on this book than anywhere in the universe)



  • whitney chadwick
    women artists and the surrealist movement
    book 1989

    (see and read why this is the most important book on surrealism, both male and female, ever written)



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  • leonora carrington
    die ovale dame...
    german book
  • buy: amazon.de (germany)


  • leonora carrington
    el septimo caballo
    us book
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  • leonora carrington
    the hearing trumpet
    japanese book

  • buy: amazon.co.jp (japan)


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  • leonora carrington
    le cornet accoustique
    french book
  • buy: amazon.fr (france)


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  • leonora carrington
    the hearing trumpet
    us book

  • buy:
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    la porte de pierre
    french book

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  • leonora carrington
    the house of fear
    japanese book

  • buy: amazon.co.jp (japan)


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    the house of fear
    uk book
  • buy:
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    leonora carrington
    german biography book

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  • leonora carrington
    leonora carrington:
    a retrospective exhibition

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  • leonora carrington
    leonora carrington :
    the mexican years (1943 - 1985)

    us book

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  • silvana schmid
    loplops geheimnis:
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    in Sudfrankreich

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  • leonora carrington, ripley, pournelle
    ripley's reissue no. 11
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  • leonora carrington
    the oval lady, other stories:
    six surreal stories

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  • leonora carrington
    the seventh horse and other tales
    uk book
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  • leonora carrington
    stone door
    uk book
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  • various
    visions: stories about
    women artists

    us book
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leonora carrington
remedios varo
surreal friends
book review - here

outstanding book accompanying the 2010 uk exhibition of leonora carrington & remedios varo. essential reading for any fan and won't be around forever!

also available: amazon.com (us)


more: art store


leonora carrington shop








2011 by the appropriate owners of the included material

Leonora Carrington Archives. ihuppert5@aol.com.