Spotlight: Jacqueline Lamba

Artnet, Apr 5, 2023

French Artist Jacqueline Lamba Was a Surrealist Muse Whose Own Work Was Largely Forgotten. Now, a New Exhibition Is Restoring Her Narrative

About the Artist: Born in 1910, French artist Jacqueline Lamba was a fierce and independent artist whose work falls across a range of modes and movements of the 20th century. As a teenager, Lamba enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, but ultimately found the curriculum too academic. After being introduced to his book by a friend, Lamba met the famous Surrealist André Breton in 1934; within months of their meeting, they wed. Involved alongside Breton with the Surrealist circles of Paris, the work she produced in this period of her career reflect her deeply intellectual understanding of the tenets of the movement. In the midst of World War II, under the patronage of Peggy Guggenheim, the pair and their young child made the necessary voyage to America to escape Nazi powers in France. Lamba went on to have work included in several of Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in the 1940s. Breton and Lamba eventually separated, and in 1946 Lamba married American sculptor David Hare, whom she had met working on the Surrealist magazine VVV. This second marriage ended in 1954, after which Lamba returned to France. Of the time following her second divorce, it was noted that "she had painted Surrealism to please Breton and expressionist landscapes to please Hare, and now she was painting for herself." Lamba was a driven and ambitious artist, and though she worked in increasing isolation, she continued to produce works through until her death in 1992.


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