Eileen Agar's father was a director of a family import company, Agar Cross. The family always had money and throughout her life she always could rely on it so she could concentrate on her art. Perhaps, just perhaps, she might have been an even greater artist if she had had to struggle in the early years of her career. As it is, posterity has placed her work firmly in the second tier of the women surrealists, firmly behind Leonor Fini and Leonora Carrington, and an absolute distance behind Frida Kahlo.
At the age of 12, she moved with her family to England. And her trip to England showed how spoilt she was: she travelled with a cow and an orchestra because her rich and fashionable mother felt fresh milk and good music were essential to her well-being!
One of the schools whe went to was at Heathfield Ascot where she was taught art by Lucy Kemp-Welsh.
William Thornley taught her watercolour and between 1921-4 attended the Slade school part-time. In 1925 she married a fellow student from the Slade, Robin Bartlett. By the following year they were seperated and she began an affair with Joseph Bard.
Money meant she could travel extensively and take appartments in the more fashionable parts of places like Paris and London. Her circle of friends and acquaintances reads like a who's who of the great and good of the 20th-century: Cecil Beaton, Evelyn Waugh, Henry Moore, Paul Nash (with whom she had a long-term affair), Picasso and others. But it is those within the surrealist circle that she was close to which are important to the development of her work: Paul Eluard (another she had an affair with), Roland Penrose
and his wife Lee Miller, Man Ray, Miró, Ernst et al. From 1936-40 she exhibited with the surrealists in England.
In 1940 she married Bard. The mariage lasted until his death in 1975. She continued to travel extensively and worked solidly right up to her death. In 1988, she published her autobiography, A Look at my Life.
The Tate Gallery bought the Flying Pillar.
Her most famous work is The Angel of Anarchy, c.1940 (Tate Modern, London).
She did do some war work which interrupted her gilded life.
Only elected Academician of the Royal Academy, London a year before her death.
She died at the age of 91, two weeks before her 92nd birthday.
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