The Forgotten Bohemian Queen of the Paris Art World: Leonor Fini (1907-1996)
Bohemian “It Girl” of Paris, master of surrealist disguise and generally a badass female libertine, Leonor Fini was one of the most photographed people of the 20th century. And yet barely anyone I ask knows her name, even here in Paris, where she once ruled the bohemian Parisian art world, considered one of the few women to break into the French male-dominated surrealist movement.
Pictured on the left her Paris studio in 1952, the glamorous Argentinian-born painter moved to the city of light in 1932 and quickly began running in the same circle as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst (one of her many lovers), Picasso and Henri Cartier-Bresson, commanding the attention of any social scene she entered with her imposing beauty, vivacious character and flamboyant style.
She had never had any artistic training and as a teenager, spent months at a time with her eyes bandaged shut after developing an ocular ailment. When the bandages were removed however, she had a deep urge to begin creatively expressing the inward visions she had experienced during her blindness, which led to her career as an artist painting women in positions of power and celebrating female sexuality. Never a slave to convention, she also produced the first erotic male nude ever painted by a woman, in 1942, pictured on the right.
The art world was charmed by Fini and her unapologetic eroticism and began exhibiting her work alongside great surrealist names.
Fini’s eccentric “It Girl” image was often more familiar than her art, and she was more talked about posthumously for her eccentric lifestyle, open sexuality and infamous menage-a-trois relationships.
Until her death in 1996 she lived in her Parisian apartment with her two lovers and beloved seventeen Persian cats, who shared her bed and, at mealtimes, were allowed to roam the dining-table selecting tasty morsels (the cats, that is). The Art Dealers Association of America called her “…the most undervalued artist of the 20th Century”. [ excerpt from messynessychic.com ]
#arthistory #hornyforart #LeonorFini #MMoA #modernmuseum #themodernmuseumofart