Fêted for their idiosyncratic and imaginative works, the surrealists marked a pivotal moment in the history of modern art in Britain. Many banded together to form the British Surrealist Group, while others carved their own, independent paths.
Here, bestselling author and surrealist artist Desmond Morris - one of the last surviving members of this important art movement - draws on his personal memories and experiences to present the intriguing life stories and complex love lives of this wild and curious set of artists. From the unpredictability of Francis Bacon to the rebelliousness of Leonora Carrington, from the beguiling Eileen Agar to the ‘brilliant’ Ceri Richards, Morris brings his subjects’ foibles and frailties to the fore.
His vivid account is laced with his inimitable wit, and profusely illustrated by images of the artists and their artworks. Featuring thirty-four surrealists - some famous, some forgotten - Morris’s intimate book takes us back in time to a generation that allowed its creative unconscious to drive their passions in both art and life.
'Fizzingly written and sumptuously illustrated … What makes this biographical dictionary of British painters and sculptors so readable is that Morris is writing about people he once knew very well indeed … this beautifully illustrated book – each artist’s bio is accompanied by two or three paintings – is a reminder of the extraordinary work of such Britons as Carrington and Agar, whose reputations as surrealists of the first order, able to stand comparison with Duchamp, de Chirico and the rest, have been soaring in recent years'
'Delightfully gossipy … a hoot'
'Effervescent ... Morris’s irreverent tone is balanced by serious and insightful details, making each profile feel at once indulgent and informative. Bringing his own knowledge to bear on his fascinating subjects, Morris offers a sweeping survey that’s surprisingly intimate'