Leonora Carrington developed an iconography of myth, occultism and alchemy that has resonated strongly with younger artists over the past decade and a half. Incredibly gifted as a technician, Carrington was also possessed of a wild imagination, which she realized with great precision in her canvases. Her leading role as a Surrealist in Paris immediately prior to the war, and her life in Mexico City alongside fellow Surrealist expats Remedios Varo, Kati Horna and Edward James, have been the subject of increased interest and scholarly research. This is the first overview of her work to be published since her death in 2011 at the age of 94. Beautifully produced, with a faux-leather binding, a die-cut cover with foil stamping and 138 color plates (including two gatefolds), this volume looks at the many influences on Carrington's many lives. It explores the Celtic imagery that enchanted her as a child, and the Mexican myths, imagery and stories that informed the second half of her career. Metamorphosis and transformation is an ongoing theme in Carrington's hybrid world, populated with disconcerting hybrid creatures, elongated women and people metamorphosing into birds. This theme also emerges on a more intimate level in her self-portraits and portraits of friends and family. Writing was of equal importance as painting for Carrington, and this volume is supplemented with excerpts from unpublished manuscripts.
Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was born in Lancashire, England. In 1936, she saw Max Ernst's work at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London, and met the artist at a party the following year. They became a couple almost immediately; when the outbreak of the Second World War separated them, Carrington was devastated, and fled to Spain, then Lisbon, where she married Renato Leduc, a Mexican diplomat, and escaped to Mexico, where she eventually established herself as one of the country's most beloved artists.