Leonora Carrington was a British-born Mexican artist, who painted in the surrealist style. Her works have a mystic quality, inspired by mythology, spirituality and magic. Carrington’s paintings often feature women and androgynous figures and frequently contain symbolic representations of herself in animal form.
A Rebellious Life
Leonora Carrington was in search of something very different to that which she had known during her childhood. She was born into a wealthy family, living at Crookhey Hall in Lancashire and was sent to boarding school at a young age.
She was described by her teachers as unteachable and was expelled from two bording schools. Desperate to escape her stiffling, wealthy, Lanchasire upbringing, Carrington dreamed of becoming an artist. Finally, with the support of her mother, she was able to follow her dream of becoming a surrealist artist and went to the Chelsea School of Art and then to Ozenfant Academy of Fine Arts in London.
Carrington’s father opposed the idea of her becoming an artist, but she had the support of her mother and her own unstoppable ambition.
In 1937, Carrington left England and went to Paris with fellow surrealist painter Max Ernst. Whilst in Paris, both her surrealist stories and paintings were appreciated and her work was published and exhibited.
Due to the effects of the second world war, Carrington eventually emigrated to Mexico during the 1940’s. She was immersed in the centre of cultural life and lived amongst other surrealist artists and writters. Carrington spent the rest of her life in Mexico, later becoming a Mexican citizen.
How Doth the Little Crocodile
Inspiration for Carrington’s paintings came from a vast range of artistic and creative sources. How doth the little crocodile was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem Little Crocodile, which featured in Alice in Wonderland.
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
– Lewis Carroll
Carrington made history in 2005, when her painting Juggler, painted in 1954, sold at auction for $713,000 – the highest price paid for any work by a living surrealist.
Carrington’s work has been exhibited throughout Mexico and and the US and more recently in the UK as well.
Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art
Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art is a brilliant exploration of the life and work of Carrington by Susan Aberth.
The book covers a great range of Carrington’s work and discusses her sources of inspiration from alchemy and the occult.
The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism
The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism, explores the experiences of the fantastic women surrealists thoughout the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. The book gives a wonderful insight into the lives and relationships of many great artists from Frida Kahlo and Jacqueline Lamba to Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini.
Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington
Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington is a picture book biography of the rebelious artist. This wonderful telling of Leonora Carrington’s life story is a great source of inspiration and wonder for little minds.
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