Monday, April 6, 2015

Leonora Carrington by Elena Poniatowska

Sir Edward James surrealist gardens in Xilitla , Mexico  - "Un mural en la selva, Leonora carrington " Elena Poniatowska   

The House Opposite is a 1945 painting by Leonora Carrington, a British-born surrealist artist who died Thursday. Edward James Trust -   
May, 2012

Elena Poniatowska a renowned Mexican writer is celebrating her 80th birthday on May 19. One of her latest books is "Leonora" about Leonora Carrington one of the most famous surrealist painters. Two of Leonora Carrington's paintings were part of The Colour of My Dreams exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery last year.

The painter who passed away almost a year ago on May 25, 2011 was born in England and lived most of her life in Mexico, she was a close friend with the writer Elena Poniatowska. The book is a extraordinary novel about the fascinating life and art work of Leonora.

Leonora like other surrealist artists and many other personalities took refuge in Mexico during the Second World War, many like Leonora stayed in Mexico for the rest of their lives. She escaped from Europe with Renato Leduc a Mexican journalist, poet and diplomatic, and it is mentioned that their marriage was arranged as a way to help her escape.

Leonora Carrington, Wolfgang Paalen, many intellectuals, artists and thousands of Jewish and Spanish Republicans escaped the Second World War and came to Mexico thanks to Gilberto Bosques, a Mexican diplomat known as the Mexican Schindler. The documentary "Visa to Paradise" about him will probably be exhibited in Vancouver this year as part of the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival.

In Mexico she was a close friend with  surrealist painters Remedios Varo, Kati Horna and with the eccentric Sir Edward James, who sponsored her and acquired many of her paintings. With him she visited Xilitla a small town in San Luis Potosí, Mexico where he had fallen in love with the jungle and it seems than also with Plutarco Gastelum Esquer. At that time Edward James was building the fantastic surrealist sculpture garden known as "Las Pozas" where Leonora painted a mural.

She was also friends with Luis Buñuel, Carlos Monsivaís, Carlos Fuentes, Wolfganag Paalen, Alice Rahon and surprisingly she met but were not close with Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo.

The book also has an interesting part about Leonora's second husband Imre Weisz frienship with Endre Friedmann (Endre Friedmann and Gerda Taro photographers created the pseudonymous Robert Capa), and how he is connected with the legendary Spanish Civil war negatives by Endre Friedman, David Seymour and Gerda Taro known as "The Mexican Suitcase". A documentary about it "The Mexican Suitcase" will be screened  as part of the University of Victoria Latin American and Spanish Film Week at Cinecenta on September 18 to 23 2012.

An illustration to the book in Pinterest: Pinterest Leonora by Elena Poniatowska
Leye y Frade (detail) Lithograph on Arches paper - Leonora Carrington -  Museo Francisco Cossío San Luis Potosí
Step-Sister's Hen (detail) Leonora Carrington - FEMSA Collection - MOA The Marvellous Real - Mexican Art in Vancouver

Elena Poniatowska and Leonora Carrington -   
Leonora by Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska -  

The Secret Life of Edward James a great George Melly's documentary film from 1975 uploaded in YouTube by pangolinblues user. It was filmed in Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico City and Essex, England. It shows some scenes with Leonora Carrington in Mexico City and some of his artwork it seems at Edward James house in Essex.

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