The Beautiful Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)


As regular visitors to Examining the Odd will know by now, British-born Mexican surrealist Leonora Carrington is one of my favourite artists. Her paintings are somehow oppressive yet elegant, tense yet loving. Her writing is inspiring and thought-provoking. We have two prints of hers at the bottom of our stairs to add a little more amazement to everyday life!

One of her sculptures has very recently been unveiled in Mexico City, donated by her son Pablo Weisz to the Acquis Heritage Collection SHCP. It’s a dream of mine to visit Mexico one day. I just need to find out which time of year is coldest and trip over a pile of money first!


I can spend so much time looking at these… There’s just so much to see. Each little character looks as though they could have a whole novel attached to them. Even the trees are fascinating, appearing to be thinking, watching…


Even as a young girl, Carrington was a non-conformist. She was repeatedly thrown out of her schools for “anti -social tendencies and certain supernatural proclivities”. In Florence and Paris she revelled in the arts, but dodged her workload and school regiment through running away, and was consequently expelled… It was at Chelsea, in the classes of cubist Amédée Ozenfant, that art, commitment and precision all came together for Leonora. Ozenfant insisted on understanding “the chemistry of everything you used”. In 1936, she visited the London International Surrealist Exhibition, and became obsessed with the movement.  Hunger

The short video above talks about Leonora’s horrible marriage to Renato Leduc, and her beautiful one to Emericko Weisz. Leonora also talks of her disgust and bemusement towards bull-fighting – well done Leonora.

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MÉXICO, D.F., 06ABRIL2015.- Hoy se cumple el 98 aniversario del natalicio de Leonora Carrington, “La novia del viento”, quien en 1963 tuvo el encargo de llevar a cabo un mural para el Museo Nacional de Antropología: “El mundo mágico de los mayas”.  FOTO: ARCHIVO /CONACULTA /CUARTOSCURO.COM

I was lucky enough to see a tiny production of The Hearing Trumpet by Dark Matter Theatre in Brighton recently. We were two of the four members of the audience, but it was a wonderful little piece of surrealist theatre.


Leonora Carrington was 94 when she died – I hope I manage to look that cheeky when I’m that age. She truly was “the last great living surrealist” – Homero Aridjis

Leonora Carrington – Top 10 Facts


Above: Picture of the sculpture “Stallion” on display at the Estacion Indianilla museum in Mexico City, on April 14, 2011 as part of the exhibition of Mexican sculptor Leonora Carrington. (Getty)

Leonora Carrington was a fantastic surrealist artist and weird fiction author. Here are ten facts you need to know.


  1. She Was a Founding Member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico
  2. Carrington was raised in a wealthy Roman Catholic family on a large estate called Crookhey Hall.
  3. She died May 25 2011 at the age of 94, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s.
  4. She remained active as a painter and sculptor throughout her life, and continued to inspire younger generations.
  5. Two weeks after her death an international group of Surrealists met in Athens to explore her proposal for “Surrealist survival kits”.
  6. She had fallen in love with the 46-year-old, married, surrealist painter Max Ernst. She intended to move to Paris with him and pursue a career as an artist.The Guardian
  7. Leonora Carrington was a revolutionary before she ever encountered the Surrealists. Born into an upper class family in Lancashire, England, Leonora learned at a very early age the injustice of
  8. Finally after many rebellious acts and expulsions from school, she succeeded in convincing her parents to let her study art at the Amédée Ozenfant Academy in London.
  9. He (Ernst) left his wife for Carrington, his “Bride of the Wind”. The couple lived together until the outbreak of W.W.II when Ernst was taken prisoner as an enemy alien. Carrington’s work during this period moves from themes of childhood filled with magical birds and animals, to a mature art based on Celtic mythology and alchemical transformation. It is an art of sensibility rather than hallucination, one in which animal guides lead the way out of a world of men who don’t know magic, fear the night, and have no mental powers except intellect.
  10. “The source of Carringtion’s magical white horse lies not in Freud’s use of the horse as a symbol of male power but in the Celtic legends that nourished her childhood…the horse is sacred to the ancient tribe of the Tuatha de Danaan…the hyena belongs to the fertile world of night; the horse becomes an image of rebirth into the light of day and the world beyond the looking glass. As symbolic intermediaries between the unconscious and the natural world, they replace male Surrealists’ reliance on the image of woman as the mediating link between man and the “marvelous” and suggest the powerful role played by Nature as a source of creative power for the woman artist (Chadwick, p. 79).”

Anthology of Black Humour