About Leonor Fini

Leonor Fini photo
Leonor Fini

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1907 and raised in Trieste, Italy. Self-taught, she studied the art of the Renaissance, Pre-Raphaelites, Romanticism, Mannerism, and Symbolism painters as an adolescent. As a teenager she read the writings of Freud and was particularly interested in his interpretation of dreams; she also found resonance in the ideas of Jung. She exhibited with Giorgio di Chirico in Milan and moved to Paris in the 1930s where her peers and friends included Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Leonora Carrington, René Magritte, and Victor Brauner. Fiercely independent in her work and lifestyle, she refused to label herself a Surrealist yet exhibited alongside the artists of the movement in Paris, London, and New York, sharing a common interest in the themes of dreams, the unconscious, and psychic metamorphosis.

In 1936 she was included in the exhibition at the NY MoMA Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, while simultaneously having a show with Max Ernst at the Julien Levy Gallery there. An important link to Surrealism with design, she organized an exhibition for Leo Castellis’s Galerie Drouin, where her Corset Chair exhibited alongside works by Salvador Dali, Meret Oppenheim, Max Ernst, and Eugene Berman. During the war she left Paris for Monte Carlo where she stayed for 3 years. Throughout her Fini celebrated strong beautiful women, dreamlike environments, provocative relationships, femininity and masculinity, human and animal transformation, ambiguity, and role reversal and shared dominance of the sexes. She depicted female sexuality from the perspective of a woman. Self-sufficient throughout her life, after a long and varied career, Fini died in Paris in 1996.