Leonora Carrington (British, born April 6, 1917–died May 25, 2011) was an artist and author, 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 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, 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 exhibition, 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 a show entitled 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. 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.

Timeline

1917
Born in Lancashire, England
1936
Attended the Chelsea School of Art, London, England
1936–1937
Attended the Academy of Amédée Ozenfant, London, England
1986
Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award, Women's Caucus for Art, New York, NY
2011
Died in Mexico City, Mexico

Exhibitions

2013–2014
Leonora Carrington: The Celtic Surrealist, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (solo)
2008
Talismanic Lens, Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2007
Surrealism: Dreams on Canvas, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
2003
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and 20th Century Mexican Art: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL
2001–2002
Surrealism: Desire Unbound, The Tate, London, England and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
1999
Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism and Self-Representation, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Surrealism: Two Private Eyes/The Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1993
Regards des Femmes, Musée d'Art Moderne, Lieja, France
Sujeto-Objeto, Museo Regional de Guanajuato, Guanajuato y Museo de Monterrey, Moneterrey, Mexico
1991
Galería de Arte del Auropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
Serpentine Gallery, London, England (solo)
Sainsbury, Norwich, England (solo)
Arnolfini, Bristol, England (solo)
The Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1990
Art Company, Leeds, England (solo)
Brewster Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1989
Museo Nacional de la Estampa, INBA, Mexico (solo)
1987
Brewster Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Art Space Mirage, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Alexander Iolas Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1970
Impressionism to Surrealism, Worthing Art Gallery, Worthing, England
1969
The Surrealists, Byron Gallery, New York, NY
Galerie Pierre, Paris, France (solo)
Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Sala Nacional, Mexico (solo)
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
1968
Artistas Británicos en México 1800/1968, Instituto Anglo-Mexicano de Cultura, Mexico
1967
IX Bienal de Pintura, São Paulo, Brazil
1966
Surrealism: A State of Mind, Universidad de California, Santa Barbara, CA
Surrealismo y Arte Fantástico en México, Galeria Universitaria, Aristos, Mexico
1965
Galería Antonio Souza, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
Instituto Cultural Anglo-Mexicano, Mexico (solo)
Galería Clardecor, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
1963
Pinturas de la colección de Edward James, Worthing Art Gallery, Worthing, England
1961
El Retrato Mexicano Contemporáneo, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico
1959
Eros Galerie, Daniel Cordier, Paris, France
1956
Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
1943
Exposición de 31 mujeres artistas, Arte de este siglo, New York, NY
First Papers of Surrealism, Madison Avenue Gallery, New York, NY
20th Century Portraits, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1942
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1938
Esposition du Surréalisme, Galerie Robert, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, Galerie Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

Literature

2004
Aberth, Susan L. Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Art. London: Lund Humphries Publishers, 2004.