In her art, Leonor Fini created a new social order, populated by sphinxes and militant heroines. And was inspired by numerous historical influences.
Leonor Fini (1907-1996) was once described by her New York gallerist Julian Levy as “(…) not a beautiful woman; her parts did not fit well together: head of a lioness, mind of a man, bust of a woman, torso of a child, grace of an angel and discourse of the devil…her allure was an ability to dominate her misfitted parts so that they merged into whatever shape her fantasy wished to present from one moment to the next”.
While Levy’s words may reflect the crucial role he played in promoting a new Surrealist ‘type’ to American audiences in the 1930 and ‘40s, it also reminds us of the role of women within that typology: she was invariably fashioned as the exotic and animalistic femme fatale. Whether a model, muse or artist she was expected to embody the essence of Surrealism – fantasy. However, female surrealists were quick to steer this gendering of fantasy towards their own independent expression and to fashion a new iconography which spoke to the idea of a modern, sexually liberated, woman.