* 1908 Buenos Aires
† 1996 Paris
The important surrealist artist Leonor Fini was born at Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires in 1908. At the age of one her mother was forced to flee from her own husband, and took her young daughter to Triest. For years the young child had to wear boys' clothing in order to be safe from kidnapping. Leonor Fini, who grew up to be a rebellious child who revolted against authorities, had been occupied with painting and drawing from the eventful days of her childhood on. She became an artist, even though she never received any academic education – nothing unusual for a woman in those days. But yet, at the young age of 17 she had her first solo show in Triest.
As a young woman Leonor Fini relocated to Paris in the mid 1930s, where she soon came in contact with the artists of Surrealism. She became friends with Giorgio De Chirico, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst. About André Breton, the self-declared leader of the movement, she had an ambivalent opinion, which is why Fini never joined the group for good. After World War II, Leonor Fini spent the troublesome years in Milan and Rome, she returned to Paris in 1945. Leonor Fini was an eccentric through and through, she did not only adore cats in an almost religious manner, she also loved the big show, for instance on dress parties. Her art is in line with her personality: Following the exaggerations of Mannerism, as well as Johann Heinrich Füssli and "Dark Romanticism", a Symbolism in the style of Gustav Klimt and, of course, her own sense of modern Surrealism, she created a fantastic figuration. Dramatic and at the same time visionary images that oscillate between erotic and fear are at the focus of her works that were often conceived in form of series. Leonor Fini was also very popular as portray painter, illustrator, stage- and costume designer. In 1996 Leonor Fini, whose works are in possession of renowned museums such as the London Tate Modern and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, died at an old age in her adopted home Paris.