Color lithograph, pencil signed at lower right, notated E.A. at left margin (epreuve d'artiste), the sheet 19" by 25 1/2", the subject a young girl, two other figures on either side, by the noted Argentinian-born surrealist painter, designer, illustrator, and author, known for her depictions of powerful women, LEONOR FINI (1907-1996). A highly underrated artist, the internet abounds with fascinating information about her long and rich life. According to her Wikipedia listing, Fini was raised in Trieste, Italy, her mother's home city. She was in Milan by the age of 17 and then in Paris in the early 1930's, when she would have been in only her mid 20's. There, she became acquainted with Carlo Carrà and Giorgio de Chirico, who inspired much of her work. She also came to know as friends or even lovers, Andre Breton, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Salvador Dalí, Victor Brauner, Jean Cocteau, and countless other important figures of Paris' rich cultural scene before the war. She traveled Europe by car with Mandiargues and Cartier-Bresson where she was photographed nude by Cartier-Bresson. The photograph of Fini sold in 2007 for $305,000 - the highest price paid at auction for one of his works to that date. The attractive and unusual looking Fini was apparently a subject dear to the heart of Cartier-Bresson, as he took many photographs of her, many, when nude.
The artist had no formal artistic training, yet she was familiar with the traditional Renaissance and Mannerist styles due to her upbringing in Italy. This exposure to Mannerism accounts for some of the long and distorted necks and limbs of many of her figures. Her first major exhibition was in 1936 in New York at Julian Levy’s Gallery. The artist was considered part of a pre-war generation of Parisian artists, and outlived most of her artist peers. The Surrealists in France became very interested in her once she began setting herself up as an artist, and came to know her as important in the movement. She is mentioned in most comprehensive works about Surrealism, although some leave her out (and she did not consider herself a Surrealist). In 1943, Fini was included in Peggy Guggenheim's show Exhibition by 31 Women at the Art of This Century gallery in New York. Today, her finest paintings appear at auctions of modern and contemporary art. A number have achieved over $100,000----her top price over $400,000. Some of her best works remind of Leonora Carrington, in so far as their dream-like qualities. In contrast to her paintings, Fini's lithographs are surprisingly reasonable, as she was a prolific printmaker.
She remained active well into later decades, illustrating, creating stage drawings, writing, and painting until at least 1995, just before her death. Fini designed the original Shocking de Schiaparelli perfume bottle. A bisexual, she was a forward, independent spirit of her times, credited with having empowered women through her works and her own behavior and life trajectory. See the comprehensive 1996 obituary by The Independent, for a beautifully written summary of her life, times and legacy.
This print has some dampstains around many of the edges. This can all be easily matted out. Currently the piece is protected in a frameless, clamped arrangement behind Plexi, which is scratched. The print can most likely be rolled for shipping and then the new owner can properly frame so that the piece may be displayed (shipping in a tube would lower the shipping cost---contact me). Allow for reflections in several images.
LEONOR FINI (1907-1996) pencil signed lithograph by noted Surrealist artist