Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Artist of the Week: Leonor Fini

Yes, there was  André Breton, Dali and di Chirico. But have you ever heard of Surrealist Leonor Fini?

August 30, 1908, Buenos Aires, Argentina - January 18, 1996, Paris, France) was an Argentine surrealist painter, graphic artist, costume and set designer and author

I want to share with you some snippets from various sources about the creative and accentric Leonor Fini.

  "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.' 

Like Da Vinci, she learned anatomy through the studying of corpses which she found in Trieste morgues.

Just like Dali, Fini rejected the Surrealists' offer to join their group. She 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 webpage 

Do ya think?  ;-)

(in her work-a-day get-up)    ;-)

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.

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. 


 Click the above image for a larger version and a great sample of Leonor Fini's work at 
Ten Dreams Fine Art Galleries

Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females.

 The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of 'the double'. She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. Wikipedia


She lived with many cats; up to a total of 23 at one time. The illness of one of her cats could send her into a deep depression.

Elsa Schiaparelli's perfume "Shocking" 1937, 
the packaging, designed by Leonor Fini, was also notable for the bottle in the shape of a woman's torso inspired by Mae West's tailor's dummy.


  1. That is shadow.

    You have such a interesting blog, with all great art work. I like your message with this comment box.

    Would you like to join my new meme, "life as I see it", drop by here when you are free.

  2. I'd never heard of her before but the again, a million million books could be written about what I've never encountered. Her work is a revelation to me and you have my gratitude for a wonderful post.

  3. Ecellent! Another artist I was not that familiar with. Thanks!

  4. Hi - did you know there's a new book - Sphinx: The Life and Art of Leonor Fini by Peter Webb about to be published by The Vendome Press? Check out their website:
    The book will be distributed by Thames & Hudson in the UK....
    hope you like... Kate

  5. you have left so much to chew on with her I must return when I have more time to savor

    in the meantime, I have a gift for you over at my blog~

  6. I'm loving all your art posts.


  7. Thanks all for enjoying Leonor Fini with me. I've recently discovered her and a couple of other women surrealists that, had I more time, I would feature as well.

  8. I am fascinated by the painting where she has a man in a pose usually reserved for women subjects.

    More women surrealists please!


  9. Very interesting: I like!

  10. More women surrealists coming up! At least as soon as I have a chance, which as some of you know, may not be for a while. I'm way busy.

    Thanks to all for stopping by. Lots of love your way.


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