Surreal Friends

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Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Kati Horna (Hardcover) (2010)

Surreal Friends is the book that, at last, admirers of Leonora Carrington & Remedios Varo have been waiting for. Anyone interested in their magical world now has the book that unlocks the wanderings of the Surreal mind ... more

Remedios Varos Prints @ (direct link to prints)


  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Lund Humphries (1 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848220596

  • ISBN-13: 978-1848220591
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 21.1 x 2 cm

      Surreal Friends brings together for the first time the work of three women Surrealist artists, friends in exile in Mexico in the 1940s: British painter Leonora Carrington, Spanish painter Remedios Varo and Hungarian photographer Kati Horna.

    The fascinating story of how the author of the book, Joanna Moorhead tracked down her long-lost cousin, Leonora Carrington in Mexico City can be read at

    For me as for many others, Carrington is one the greatest artists of the 20th-century. Now in her early 90s, with Dorothea Tanning she is the last living link to the Surrealists. Reading the above article made me realise just how poorly Britain treats its great visionaries. Someone like Tracey Emin (the Katie Price of British art, non?) is treated with reverence and yet Leonora is half-forgotten by many including the Tate who don't even own one of her oils. How on earth can that be right?

    So it's not the Tate who publishes this book nor any major institution. In France, for example, I bet a major exhibition at Centre Pompidou would have happened years ago. Not in the UK. It's left to individual such as Joanna and Pallant House in Chichester to produce a major exhibition of her work plus this beautiful book.

      Leonora Carrington fled to Mexico in the 1940s when her love affair with Max Ernst was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.

    In Mexico City she found herself liberated from her English upper-class background and from the expectations of the older male Surrealists of whose circle she had been a part in Paris and New York. She made new friendships - with Varo and Horna especially, but also with other refugees from war-torn Europe and with Mexican artists and writers including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Octavio Paz.



    Remedios Varo arrived in Mexico City in 1941, having fled Nazi-occupied Paris with her lover, the French Surrealist poet Benjamin Peret. Until her early death in 1963, she produced a wealth of paintings inspired by the spirit and freedom of Mexico, in which magic, humour and illusion feature strongly.

    Kati Horna was born in Hungary and moved to Paris to pursue a career as a photographer. With her husband Jose Horna she documented the Spanish Civil War, before moving with him to Mexico City in 1939. In Mexico she became a photojournalist for various newspapers and also took on more personal photography projects, much of this work suffused with a Surrealist thread.

    Remedios Varos Prints @ (direct link to prints)

    For all three women, Mexico offered freedom to explore their art in ways that had not been possible in Europe. "Surreal Friends" tells the fascinating story of their artistic friendship.

      Surreal Friends, an exhibition of the work of Leonora Carrington and that of her friends the Spanish painter Remedios Varo and the Hungarian photographer Kati Horna, is at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, June 19 to September 12, 2010, then the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, September 28 to December 12, 2010

    The book includes 70 colour and 60 b&w illustrations. Not a gripe against the book but I just wish it was longer as I can never get enough of the work of these two magically whimiscal artists, not forgetting Horna's photographs. It's a beautiful book and is certainly my favourite art book of 2010. Highly informative, I can't recommend it highly enough. And if you can't make the exhibitions in Chichester and Norwich then it is a worthy substitute.

    Remedios Varos Prints @ (direct link to prints)

    Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

    The death of Leonora Carrington was announced on the 26th May 2011. More info. can be found here. Tributes and images of her work can be found here.

  • Available: (UK) | (US)

    Remedios Varos Prints @ (direct link to prints)

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