The Ancestor, Leonora Carrington

The Ancestor, Leonora Carrington 1968

The Ancestor, Leonora Carrington 1968

I love the work of Leonora Carrington. It is always strange, often unsettling and unfailingly magical. Her life story is intriguing too; brought up in a grand family in the 1920s and 30s, she was expelled from two schools before discovering a passion for art. Her relationship with Surrealist Max Ernst, who left his wife to be with Carrington in Paris, scandalised society and horrified her relations, who promptly disowned her. Ernst was forced to flee from the Nazis following the outbreak of World War Two, soon afterwards Carrington had a breakdown. She eventually ended up in Mexico, where she was to spend the rest of her long life painting wonderful images such as The Ancestor and Temple of the World, and where she is still viewed as a national treasure. Leonora Carrington ended up outliving most of her Surrealist contemporaries, and finally passed away at the ripe old age of ninety four in 2011. The subjects of her paintings are always obscure, but that is pretty much the point; indeed Carrington was often disparaging of any attempts to ‘decipher’ or ‘intellectualise’ her art.

Her 1976 novel The Hearing Trumpet is hilariously bizarre and well worth a read. But then I should probably save that magical little gem for another day…

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2 Responses to “The Ancestor, Leonora Carrington”

  1. Went and looked at some more of her work online after reading this. Thank you!

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