Of Women Who Rule the World

SCHIRN Magazine

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.


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Apr 12, 2020