biography
books

cats

gallery

prints
shop

leonora carrington

frida kahlo

lee miller
remedios varo

auerbach
francis bacon
baselitz
joseph beuys
christo
jean cocteau
salvador dali
hundertwasser
jasper johns
anselm kiefer
jean marais
lichtenstein
mcbean
picasso
egon schiele
andy warhol


Biography:

Born in Buenos Aires, 1907, to an Argentine father and an Italian mother, the life of Leonor Fini began in utter turmoil. Her parent's strife ridden  marriage ended before Fini was a year old. After their divorce, Fini's mother gathered up Leonor and their belongings and returned to Italy.

leonor fini

Settling in the northern Italian city of Trieste Fini's mother began a peaceful new life. This was soon over as her ex-husband travelled to Italy to kidnap Leonor and take back to Argentina. With no help from local authorities, and no legal protection against such actions, Fini's mother nonetheless outwitted her estranged husband. For six nightmare years she disguised Leonor as a boy whenever they ventured out of the house. As absurd as this may seem, it worked. Her husband gave up his mission and returned to Argentina, never to be seen again.

Fini's career also began in a traumatic way. In her early teens she suffered an eye disease that forced her to wear bandages on both eyes.  Living in a world of darkness for quite some time, she had little to do but develop her inner vision. She spent her days and visualizing fantastic images, and after her recovery, decided to become an artist.

leonor fini

As she did with everything , Fini pursued art with passion, determination, and conviction. She visited museums regularly, and studied renaissance masters, Mannerism, Romanticism and the Pre Raphaelites. Instead of busying herself with the usual juvenile concerns, Fini immersed herself in her uncle's large collection of art books.  Consequently, her talent grew rapidly and at the tender age of seventeen, Fini had her debut exhibit in a Trieste gallery. More amazing, word of her talent reached Milan, a major Italian art center. The city's upper eschalon loved Fini's work and commissioned portraits by the young master. This early display of talent earned her the friendship of renowned Italian artists such as  Funi, Carra,  and Tosi.

leonor fini

Her early induction to Europe's plethora of avant garde movements caused her to mature quickly in originality, philosophical development, and personality. It also inspired her trademark sense of autonomy and non-conformism which she embraced with the same passion as she did with art.

Her eccentric persona and flamboyant dress was rivalled only by Dali.  This was not posturing showmanship but a form of integral surrealist expression that uses the entire body as theatre to protest against conventional society. 

She was only eighteen when Fini arrived in Paris, but her art quickly found its way into galleries. Art writer/curator Whitney Chadwick says of this period in Fini's life:

   "In Paris she became a legend almost overnight. When one of the Surrealists saw a painting of hers in a Paris gallery in 1936 and sought out its creator, she arranged a rendezvous in a local cafe and arrived dressed in a cardinal's scarlet robes, which she had purchased in a clothing store specializing in clerical vestments. 'I liked the sacrilegious nature of dressing as a priest, and the experience of being a woman and wearing the clothes of a man who would never know a woman's body.' "

This bizarre, meeting, prompted Eluard, Ernst, Magritte, and Brauner to introduce Fini to the Surrealist Group. She developed friendships with the women members of the movement and participated in surrealist exhibits. To everyone's complete surprise  Fini not only refused to join the group, she denied being a surrealist.  Though it is said she did not join  because of Andre Breton's authoritarian leadership, she had  more fundamental reasons.  Like Dali and Artaud, Fini saw the group's obsession with treatise and theories not as radical, but as a manifestation of  what Dali called "typical petit bourgeois mentality".

leonor fini

For her, surrealism was beyond manifestos and theories. In the sexual realm, she found the group homophobic and misogynist despite its endeavors to idealize women and liberate sexual desire without the interference of morality.  John B.Myers, a gallery dealer who documented his experiences with surrealists, wrote of this double standard:

         "The sexuality in which he (Breton) was involved was rigorously against what he considered perversion. For example, he detested male homosexuality to the point where he once threatened to expel a member of the surrealist movement if he didn't get married. On the other hand, voyeurism and lesbianism disturbed him not at all..."
    (Myers 1969, 11-12)


Fini was not without ideological contradictions of her own. Despite  her denial of being a surrealist, she adhered to many of  surrealism's tenants. In fact they played an integral role in her quest to envision a "new woman".  For instance, Fini claimed to use images from her subconscious, adopted Georges Bataille's philosophy of a return to the mythological, spiritual and visionary aspects of primal cultures.

She founded her methodology on surrealism's tenant of delving into the self and described herself as living a life in revolt.  She used surrealism as both a weapon against the onslaught of prehistoric social conventions and a tool for constructing a modern society that allowed female participation in existence. According to art writer/educator Julie Byrd:

         "Profound belief in the ability to shape the exterior world according to one's desire is rare among women of Fini's generation. Cultivating her own individuality, she placed her own freedom and autonomy to a degree that seems the embodiment of the surrealist ideal, but that was, in fact, equalled by few surrealists."

Refusal to consider herself a surrealist and her willingness to nonetheless align herself with the movement was never an issue with the Surrealists.  It was not unusual for the group to seek allies and sympathizers from non-members and similar revolutionary movements. Picasso and Giacommetti were among these allies, however their affiliations were temporary and sporadic..  She was perhaps the only outsider who consistently kept close to the group. 

leonor fini

Fini's extensive oeuvre has been an invaluable contribution to the development of a modern feminine consciousness, but her version differed somewhat from the other women surrealists.  In contrast with Remedios Varo's ideal woman, Fini's  was not cerebral, mystical or ironic but authoritarian, sensual,  and governed by passion. She portrays them in an almost Amazonian sense: as goddesses, warriors, and voluptuaries.

Compared with Tanning and Carrington, Fini's art did not symbolically transfer  female sexuality onto childhood, she placed it within the adult realm. There is none of the resentment toward  masculinized society that appears in the other surrealist women's art. Neither is there the subliminal but ubiquitous sense of  determinism that underlies much of their work.  Varo and Kahlo, depict the masculine position  as arbitrary.  Fini was too insolent for such kindness.

Her work simply ignores or reduces the masculine position to insignificance.  Whereas most of the other surrealist women's art contains statements about  female sexuality, Fini's is more a proclaimation and celebration of it. The women in her art are at once beautiful and alluring, yet powerful and threatening, embodying not only a female sexuality but that which had been thought of as exclusively male.  In that sense, Fini envisioned a historically unique--and prophetic-- feminine sexual duality absent from the other surrealist women's constructs. 

After WWII, Fini's career expanded.  She designed theatre sets and costumes, and did book illustrations.  Her work has been exhibited in major galleries and museums throughout the world. Although the surrealist moniker followed her until her death in 1996, she always rejected categorization of any kind.  She changed styles often and employed various techniques and media as if to shrug off her tenacious image as a "woman surrealist". 

Her efforts had no affect on the public or the academia and perhaps never will.  It is almost impossible to consider her life and her art without proclaiming her a surrealist--an extraordinary one at that.





biography | books | cats
gallery | prints
shop

top of page

wares:





Leonor Fini Graphique Book
leonor fini
oeuvre graphique
extensive book scans - smartphones page



Leonor Fini Original Drawing
leonor fini
face
view original drawing - smartphones page




leonor fini
sphinx: the life and art of leonor fini
book review - here

also available: amazon.com (us)



leonora carrington
remedios varo
surreal friends
book review - here

also available: amazon.com (us)


Print
leonor fini
visage i
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
visage ii
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
bosor
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
carrefour dhecate
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
cyntia
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
trois personnages
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
proie delection
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
trois personnages ii
ltd edn signed print



Print
leonor fini
regards i
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards ii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards iii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards v
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards viii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards ix
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards iv
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards x
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
regards vii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis i
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis ii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations i
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations ii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations iii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations iv
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations v
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations vi
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations vii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations viii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations ix
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations x
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations xi
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
variations xii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis de femmes
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis erotiques
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis iii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis v
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
scene de theatre ii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
scene de theatre iv
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
tete de jeune femme
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
croquis iv
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
bestiaire i
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
bestiaire ii
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
l'habillage
signed etching



Print
leonor fini
aerobics i
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
aerobics ii
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
jeux erotiques
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
29 chats et un oiseau
signed lithograph



Print
leonor fini
red face
signed lithograph


art store


link



//leonorFINIshop//



Print
Holmes Hill Furniture
Nr. Lewes, Sussex
Recommendation



Click here to buy posters!
click here to buy posters!








Principales Expositions Personelles:

    1948 Palais des Beaux-
             Arts, Bruxelles
    1956 Galerie Drouand-David,
             Paris
    1957 Galerie Galatea, Turin
    1959 Galerie Reve Droite,
             Paris
    1963 Iolas Gallery, New York
    1965 Grande exposition
             retrospective au Casino
             de Knokke-le-Zoute
    1965 Galerie Iolas, Paris
    1967 Hannover Gallery,
             Londres
    1968 Galerie Torbandena,
             Trieste
    1969 Galerie Brockstaedt,
             Hambourg
    1969 Galerie Gmurzynska,
             Cologne
    1970 Galerie Isa Brachot,
             Bruxelles
    1970 Galerie Lambert Monet,
             Geneve
    1970 Galerie II Fauno,
             Turin
    1972 Galerie Verriere, Paris
    1972 Exposition retrospective
             au Japon
              (Toyko, Osaka, Kyoto)
    1974 Galerie Altmann-
             Carpentier, Paris

    Autres expostions
    personelles a Rome, Milan, Zurich, Anvers, Turin, Le Caire, Alexandrie, Geneve, etc



Principales Expositions Collectives:

    1957 Boach, Goya et le
             Fantastique, Bordeaux
    1964 Le Surrealisme, Galerie
             Charpentier, Paris
    1966 Labyrinthe, Berlin
    1966 Art fantastique, Vienne
    1968 Festival de
             Recklinghausen
    1968 Art erotique, Lund
    1968 Tresors du Surrealisme,
             Knokke-le-Zoute
    1970 Surrealisme, Musee de
             Bordeaux
    1970 Hommage a Durer,
             Nuremberg
    1972 Le Surrealisme, Haus der
             Kunst, Munich et Musee
             des Arts Decoratifs,
             Paris
    1974 Collection Peggy
             Guggenheim, Orangerie,
             Paris

    Elle a participe a la Biennale de Venice, a la Quadriennale de Rome, au Salon de Mai de Paris

    Ses tableaux se trouvent dans les musees d'Art moderne de Paris, Rome, Bruxelles, Grenoble, Trieste, Lodz (Pologne) Geneve, etc



Notes Biographiques:

    Leonor Fini est une peintre française d'origine italienne (Buenos Aires, Argentine, 1908- Paris, 1996).

    De culture très cosmopolite. De nature indépendante, elle quitta sa famille à 17 ans, résida ensuite à Milan puis adopta le classicisme et la peinture tonale de peintres comme Carrà.

    En 1933 elle quitte l'Italie pour Paris où elle fréquente André Breton et les Surréalistes; s'inspirant de leurs théories, elle réalise ses premiers dessins « automatiques ».

    Elle s'y lia d'amitié avec Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, sans jamais appartenir au groupe surréaliste. Elle partagea cependant leur goût du fantastique, du symbolisme onirique, qu'elle transpose dans ses œuvres avec un grande élégance, un goût sûr, le sens de l'harmonie décorative et une délicatesse rafinée. Elle ne fréquenta aucune école des Beaux-Arts et sa formation est entièrement autodidacte, d'où sans doute la difficulté de l'identifier à un courant particulier de l'art contemporain, car son évolution a surtout été marquée par des affinités électives et par son propre "Musée imaginaire".

    À ses débuts elle peignit de nombreux portraits dont ceux de Jean Genet, d'Anna Magnani, de Jacques Audiberti.

    Elle fut une extraordinaire illustratrice ; on lui doit notamment l'illustration de textes d'Edgar Poe, de Sade, et de Marcel Aymé.

    Leonor Fini a continué de peindre jusqu'à la fin de sa vie.



    leonor fini

    //leonorFINIshop//

© 2010 by the appropriate owners of the included material

Leonor Fini Archives. ihuppert5@aol.com.