Sunday, June 14, 2015

Leonor Fini

Vesper Express
color serigraph
56 x 38.7 cm
published by Editions du Tamanoir, Bruxelles/Paris

"Marriage never appealed to me, I've never lived with one person. Since I was 18, I've always preferred to live in a sort of community - A big house with my atelier and cats and friends, one with a man who was rather a lover and another who was rather a friend. And it has always worked." (Leonor Fini)

Leonor Fini (1907-1996) was born in Buenos Aires, raised in Trieste, Italy, moved to Milan at the age of 17, and then to Paris, in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, and Alberto Moravia. She painted portraits of many celebrities such as Jean Genet.

It has been said about her that she is the only artist to paint women without apology.
Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females.

She never considered herself a Surrealist at all, though she maintained close personal relationships with several members of the group and included work in several important Surrealist exhibitions in the 1930s. Although she shared the Surrealist interest in dream, reverie, psychic transformation, and a poetics of suggestion and allusion, her work remains firmly rooted in the traditions of Symbolism, Metaphysics and Italian and German Romanticism.

She illustrated many works by the great authors and poets, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Shakespeare, as well as texts by new writers. She was very generous with her illustrations and donated many drawings to writers to help them get published. She is best known for her graphic illustrations for Histoire d'O.

She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe.

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. She later employed an assistant to join the household, which he described as "a little bit of prison and a lot of theatre". One of his jobs was to look after her beloved Persian cats. Over the years she acquired 17 of them; they shared her bed and, at mealtimes, were allowed to roam the dining-table selecting tasty morsels.