We have been meaning to write about Mexican Surrealist writer and painter Leonora Carrington, who passed away last month at the age of 94. We’ve always been inspired by the color schemes and imagination of her work, as well as her own personal confidence and fortitude. She was a bit of a firecracker, and reflecting on her life said, “I didn’t have time to be anyone’s muse…I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.”
Carrington was regarded as one of the last great Surrealist painters of her era, and remains one of Mexico’s national treasures. Born in Britain to a wealthy textile magnate, she quickly went against her privileged upbringing – and her father’s wishes – to study art in Florence. She fell in love with the work of Max Ernst, whom she met at a cocktail party, and who introduced her to the prominent Surrealists including Dali, Picasso and Tanguy. Her first important exhibition came in 1947 at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City. Attracted by the flourishing community of artists in Mexico City, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Octavio Paz, she moved there with her husband, Hungarian photographer Emeric Weisz, where they lived for nearly 70 years.
Her work frequently draws on imagery from myth, folklore, the occult, and the animal kingdom. Some of our favorite works are Portrait of Max Ernst, The Inn of the Dawn Horse (below) a self-portrait currently at the Met in NY, and Daughter of the Minotaur. Today, her canvases regularly sell in excess of $1 million. Not many people know that she was also a brilliant writer. In ‘The Hearing Trumpet’, the two main characters are thought to be Leonora herself and fellow female surrealist friend painter and friend, Remedios Varo.