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Leonora Carrington Biography

Leonora Carrington’s father was a wealthy industrialist, her mother was Irish. She also had an Irish nanny, Mary Cavanaugh, who told her Gaelic tales. Leonora had three brothers. Places she lived as a child included a house called Crooksey Hall. Educated by governesses, tutors and nuns, she was expelled from many schools for her rebellious behavior until her family sent her to Florence where she attended Mrs. Penrose’s Academy of Art. Her father was opposed to an artist’s career for her, but her mother encouraged her. She returned to England and was presented at Court, but according to her, she brought a book to read by Aldous Huxley Eyeless in Gaza (1936), instead. In London she attended the Chelsea School of Art and joined the Academy of Amédée Ozenfant. She saw her first Surrealist painting in a Left Bank gallery in 1927 (when she was ten years old), and met many surrealists, including Paul Eluard. (She was already familiar with surrealism from Herbert Read’s book.) Carrington saw Max Ernst’s work in a 1936 international Surrealist exhibition in London where she was immediately attracted to the Surrealist artist before actually meeting him. She met Max Ernst at a party in London in 1937. The artists bonded and returned to Paris together where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938 they left Paris and settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in the Provence region, of the south of France. The new couple collaborated and supported each other’s artistic development. With the outbreak of World War II, Max Ernst was arrested by French authorities for being a “hostile alien”. Thanks to the intercession of Paul Eluard, and other

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