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Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement

Whitney Chadwick, Dawn Ades


Whitney Chadwick's groundbreaking study of women in the Surrealist movement, now available in paperback

Also available as an eBook from Online store, Online store


This pioneering book stands as the most comprehensive treatment of the lives, ideas, and art works of the remarkable group of women who were an essential part of the Surrealist movement. Leonora Carrington, Léonor Fini, Frida Kahlo and Dorothea Tanning, among many others, became an embodiment of their age as they struggled towards artistic maturity and their own ‘liberation of the spirit’ in the context of the Surrealist revolution.

Their stories and their achievements are presented here against the background of the turbulent decades of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and the war that forced Surrealism into exile in New York and Mexico. Whitney Chadwick, author of the highly acclaimed Women, Art, and Society, interviewed and corresponded with most of the artists personally in the course of her research. Now revised, and with a new foreword by art historian Dawn Ades, this book contains a wealth of extracts from unpublished writings, and numerous illustrations that previous to this publication had never before been reproduced in print.

This groundbreaking study transformed the critical fortunes of the artists involved, and inspired a wholesale revision of the Surrealists’ story. It has acquired classic status among artists, art historians, critics and cultural historians, and remains essential reading for anyone with an interest in the field.

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'Presents a wealth of imagery and information about artists who commanded respect from their male contemporaries…as such it will be of great value both in reassessing the history of Surrealism and in illuminating the persistent marginalization of women’s art'
The Oxford Art Journal

'Professor Chadwick’s book has been centrally important and has initiated a vital re-centring of the whole Surrealist enterprise'
Times Higher Education Supplement

Burlington Magazine

'A classic'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 22.9 x 15.2 cm

Extent: 320 pp

Illustrations: 145

Publication date: 7 October 2021

ISBN: 9780500296165

Contents List

1. Search for a Muse
2. The Muse as Artist
3. Revolution and Sexuality
4. The Female Earth: Nature and the Imagination
5. Women Artists and the Hermetic Tradition
6. Cycles of Narrative Fantasy

About the Author

Whitney Chadwick is an art historian and educator, who has published widely on contemporary art, modernism, Surrealism, and gender and sexuality. Among her many books are Women, Art and Society, The Militant Muse and, with Isabelle de Courtivron, Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership.