Leonora Carrington (British, April 6, 1917–May 25, 2011) was an artist and author who was best known as one of the leading female figures of the Surrealist movement. Carrington was born in Clayton Green, Lancashire, England, to a wealthy textile merchant family and received much of her early education from tutors and nuns. After being expelled from several schools due to her rebellious nature, Carrington was sent to Florence, Italy, to attend her first art school, Mrs. Penrose's Academy of Art. Her education continued with her attendance at Chelsea School of Art in London for a year, after which she transferred to Ozenfant Academy, London, for the following three years.
In 1937, Carrington met Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976), who is recognized as one of the pioneers of the Surrealist movement. Carrington and Ernst formed a strong bond and lived in Paris and southern France where they supported each other's artistic talent and vision. This would result in their collaboration on several pieces of art that they used to decorate their home. After Ernst's arrest by the Nazis shortly after their occupation of France, Carrington moved to Spain, where she suffered a complete breakdown that resulted in her being institutionalized. This experience would directly influence both her artistic and written works in the coming years. Examples of this influence can be seen in her novel Down Below (1972) and her paintings Portrait of Dr. Morales (1940) and Map of Down Below (1943).
In 1947, Carrington became extremely well-known almost overnight after she showcased her work at a Surrealist exhibition held at the Pierre Matisse Gallery. As the only professional female painter represented at the exhibit, she quickly made a name for herself as one of the most prominent female painters of the Surrealist movement. In 2010, Carrington's work was presented during an exhibit called Surreal Friends at the Pallant House Gallery in West Sussex. Before her death in 2011, Carrington was recognized as one of the last female painters of the Surrealist movement who was still alive. She also gained recognition when her painting Juggler (1954) set a new record as the most expensive piece ever sold by a living Surrealist painter. Carrington died on May 25, 2011.