Monday, August 17, 2009

The Art of Leonor Fini, 1907 - 1996

I was in NYC over the weekend and came across the CFM Gallery in SoHo. They feature the artwork of Leonor Fini. This wouldn't be such a beautiful thing if it wasn't for the fact that I had been to the Art Gallery of Ontario just the day before and had been struck by her work.

What a coincidence! At the AGO their Surreal Things exhibit only had 2 of her set designs and 2 or 3 paintings and I left longing for more . . . and then the next day I walk into a gallery that features her work in abundance. I couldn't help but feel that it was meant to be and that the universe was helping me find inspiration.

She is one of the only female surrealist painters to have made a name for herself without having been attached to another male painter (by sleeping with or being married to one or some arrangement like this). Have you ever thought about how few female painters are represented in the art history books? Well, I've thought about it and I've read many fictitious novels inspired by the lives of various woman painters, but the realization that I may be missing out on some incredible works because they're unrecorded didn't hit a deep chord in the pit of my stomach until I started looking at Leonor's work.
Leonor Fini: The ends of the earth, 1949 Oil on canvas, 35 x 28cm Private collection, © DACS, London / ADAGP, Paris
Leonor Fini: The Guardian of the Black Egg, 1955
On the NNDB site it states her occupation as 'painter, sex kitten.' Interesting.

The painting below is my favourite of all that I've seen so far. It kind of reminds me of Mucha, but is more feminine. While Mucha's paintings are beautiful in a fantastical kind of way, Fini's paintings seem to be much more grounded in it's femininity. The themes of her work are not based on the 'idea' of being female nor are her women idealized and idolized. Her woman are beautiful and heroic, yet real. They tell a story and are not merely just eye candy. It's rather refreshing.

For more of Fini's art, go here and here.

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