In Episode 06 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews journalist Joanna Moorhead, the long lost cousin, biographer and world expert of one of the greatest surrealist painters ever to exist, LEONORA CARRINGTON!!!
And WOW, will it shock you to find out that Joanna only found out about her long lost cousin a mere THIRTEEN years ago, by which point the great artist was 89. Determined to track her down, Joanna flew straight to Mexico to find her cousin – who was never allowed to be spoken about in her family since her dramatic exit in 1937...
Born in 1917 in a large gothic mansion – that inspired many of her later paintings – Carrington had an isolated childhood. The only girl of three brothers, age 15 Carrington was sent to London be a debutant, but she resisted, only to head straight to art school where she ended up falling in love with Max Ernst, the married Surrealist painter 26 years her senior...
After a huge row with her family – she never saw her father again – she headed straight for Paris. But this was 1936 and war was imminent. And it wasn't going to be easy for the young Leonora to venture out on her own. Listen now to discover how the young Leonora escaped Europe for Mexico, the country where Carrington resided until her death in 2011...
I couldn't be more delighted to interview Joanna about Leonora and her fantastically surreal paintings – many of which echo her childhood – and to find out first hand about the artist's life and take on her work, and of course, their meeting in 2006.
WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
Self Portrait (In of the Dawn Horse), 1937–38https://www.metmuseum.org/en/art/collection/search/492697
Portrait of Max Ernst, 1939https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/164061/portrait-max-ernst
Do You Know My Aunt Eliza?, 1941https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/carrington-do-you-know-my-aunt-eliza-t11911
Green Tea, 1942https://bit.ly/31N9PoY
Crookhey Hall, 1947https://bit.ly/2BNPhC8
Grandma Moorhead's Aromatic Kitchen, 1975https://bit.ly/2PnZGMV
Further reading –
Joanna's book: https://www.virago.co.uk/titles/joanna-moorhead/the-surreal-life-of-leonora-carrington/9780349008776/
Article on the book: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/05/the-surreal-life-of-leonora-carrington-joanna-moorhead-review
BBC documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxEF1bjgt5Q&t=1121s
Thank you for listening!! This episode is sponsored by the Affordable Art Fair: @affordableartfairuk
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Sound editing by @_ellieclifford
Music by Ben Wetherfield