Leonora Carrington


Leonora Carrington was a woman who established herself as a key figure in the Surrealist movement and as an important artist of remarkable individuality . His biography is colorful, including an affair with older artist Max Ernst , his escape from the Nazis during World War II , mental illness, and an expat life in Mexico . In his art, his often highly detailed dreamlike compositions of fantastic creatures in otherworldly settings are based on a symbolismintensely personal. The artist herself preferred not to explain this private visual language to others. However, the themes of metamorphosis and magic , as well as the frequent quirks of his works, have given his art an appeal that has endured for years.


Personal information

  • When was he born:  04/06/1917
  • Where he was born: Lancashire, UK
  • When he died: 05/25/2011
  • Where he died:  Mexico City, Mexico

Who was Leonora Carrington?

It was an important artist plastic and author Englishwoman who was naturalized as a Mexican . It is considered as an emblem of art and as one of the most important female exponents of surrealism.

Biography of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington was born in 1917, her father Harold Carrington was an English textile magnate, and her mother Maurie Moorhead Carrington was of Irish descent. Carrington spent her childhood on the family estate in Lancashire where she grew up listening to her Irish nanny’s fairy tales and the stories of Celtic folklore , sources of symbolism that would later inspire her artwork.


She felt a strong attraction to the expression yet his parents insisted on presenting it as a debutante at the court of the King George V . When she continued to rebel, she was sent to study art briefly in Florence, Italy. She fell in love with medieval and baroque sculpture and architecture and was mainly inspired by Italian Renaissance painting . When he returned to London, Carrington’s parents allowed him to study art, first at the Chelsea School of Art and then at the school founded by the French expatriate and Cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant .


In 1937, he met Max Ernst , who left his wife for her, and they went to live in France . During this time he devoted himself to surrealist practices , exploring painting , collage, and automatic writing with Ernst. Their relationship ended with World War II as Ernst was arrested several times by the Germans and eventually fled to the United States with the help of Peggy Guggenheim .

Leonora Carrington left France and traveled to Madrid, escaping from the Nazis . In Spain she suffered a psychotic breakdown and was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital in Madrid. When he began to suffer from repeated delusions and anxiety attacks , his parents intervened in his medical care. Carrington was admitted and treated with shock therapy . The artist was traumatized by this ordeal, and finally sought refuge in the Mexican embassy in Lisbon. After living for a time in Mexico, he requested the residence of the country and became nationalMexican, married Emérico Weisz who is the father of her children. He died in Mexico on May 5, 2011 at the age of 94.


The main characteristics of Leonora Carrington are the following:

  • He promoted the current of surrealism .
  • In his works he reflected his life , passion and everything he did.
  • She was locked up in a psychiatric hospital and isolated.
  • It was the maximum representative of surrealism.
  • He acquired Mexican nationality after fleeing from the psychiatric hospital.
  • She married the author Renato Leduc in Mexico , but their marriage was short-lived.
  • His work is full of fantastic animals from his creative universe.


His technique played an important role in the internationalization of surrealism after World War II, extending this tradition into the 21st century. His visionary approach to painting and his intensely personal symbolism have been two of his main techniques. Her feminist theory also plays an important role in her art through the visual language of folklore , magic and autobiography that also paved the way for other artists, addressing identity and taxation.

Leonora Carrington’s literary style

His literary style surreal , feminist and full of humor . He showed great respect for nature and animals. His perception of a world of dreams and hidden realities are capable of transferring us to a new and unique universe. He manages to develop a pictorial language focused on Celtic myth, alchemical symbolism, Gnosticism , Jungian psychology, and Tibetan Buddhism .


In 2005, she was awarded in Mexico with the National Prize of Sciences and Art within the category of Fine Arts. Leonora Carrington also received the ” Order of the British Empire ” award that was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to the arts, the Order of the British Empire award in Great Britain, the Goya Medal from Spain, and the Cloister of Sor Juana, Mexico. .

Works by Leonora Carrington

His most important works in painting were the following:

  • The temptation of San Antonio
  • Ferret Race
  • The magical world of the Mayans
  • Portrait of Max Ernst
  • Noah’s Ark
  • The bird bath
  • Self-portrait at Alba’s horse lodge.
  • Memory tower
  • The fortune teller

As for his books we can mention the following:

  • The House of Fear
  • A flannel nightshirt
  • The magical world of the Mayans
  • The Oval Lady: Surreal Stories
  • The acoustic trumpet , The acoustic cornet or The acoustic trumpet
  • The seventh horse and other tales
  • The invention of mole

Among his acclaimed sculptures we mention: Jaguar of the night, Virgin of the cave, Dragonese, Carnivorous mask, Mute singer, Elephant, Inventor of the atole, Chameleon and Crocodile.


Among the most famous phrases of Leonora Carrington are the following:

  • Since I was born I have tried to express , first with my drawings as a child and later with painting, what I feel.
  • You don’t have to put the word before reality , you have to put reality first.
  • The world that I paint I don’t know if I invented it, I think that rather it is that world that invented me.
  • Once a dog barked at a mask I made, it was the most honorable comment I have ever received.
  • Women have been oppressed , and I believe that many do not develop their full potential because they consider them inferior beings . But that does not mean that I think that women are better than men or that men are better than women. What is clear is that the main concern of the oppressed is to stop being so.

Leave a Comment