The Fantastic Bridget Bate Tichenor

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Let’s have a look at the work of Mexican Surrealist (yes, another one!) painter Bridget Bate Tichenor (1917-1990). If you had shown me the painting above before I knew about this artist, I definitely would have thought it was a Leonora Carrington piece.

Knowing that it is in fact by Bridget Bate Tichenor, the main difference between the two artists’ work for me is the spiritual feeling of their pieces. Both artists produced work with a profound spiritual presence, but Leonora’s seems more personal and delicate, whilst Bridget’s is comparatively universal and bold.

Needless to say, I love both! I really must go to Mexico one day – it clearly brings out the artist in a woman. I just need to figure out the coldest part and time of year…

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Above: Portrait of Bridget Bate Tichenor by George Platt Lynes, New York 1945.

Education Slade School of Fine Art, École des Beaux Arts, Art Students League of New York
Known for Painting, Fashion editor
Movement Surrealism, magic realism

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Born in France and of British descent, she later embraced Mexico as her home… She was the daughter of the Virginia born American NBC, World War I correspondent Frederick Blantford Bate and Sarah (Vera) Gertrude Arkwright Bate Lombardi, who were married after Bridget’s birth in 1919. Chisholm Gallery

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Bridget Tichenor’s mother, who was reputedly a well-connected descendant of George III, was the public relations liaison to the royal families of Europe for Coco Chanel. After an arranged marriage Tichenor moved to New York, where she attended the Art Students League of New York. In 1945, after the divorce from her first husband, she married Jonathan Tichenor, an assistant of photographer George Platt Lynes. Huffington Post

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She was among a group of surrealist and magic realist female artists who came to live in Mexico in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Her introduction to Mexico was through a cousin she had first met in Paris in the 1930s: Edward James, the British surrealist art collector and sponsor of the magazine Minotaure. James lived in Las Pozas, San Luis Potosí, and his home in Mexico had an enormous surrealist sculpture garden with natural waterfalls, pools and surrealist sculptures in concrete. In 1947, James invited her to visit him again at his home Xilitia, near Tampico in the rich Black Olmec culture of the Gulf CoastGood old Wikipedia

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Leonora Carrington – Top 10 Facts

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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.

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  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 society.Illinois.edu
  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. Illinois.edu
  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