Surrealist Figure—blue and yellow
Pencil and gouache
34.5 x 27.5 in.
b. 1889, Buenos-Aires, Argentina
d. 1991, London, United Kingdom
Eileen Agar was a British painter and photographer associated with the Surrealist movement. Born in Buenos Aires to a Scottish father and American mother, she moved with her family to London in 1911. Agar attended the Byam Shaw School of Fine Art and later the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She also studied under the prolific artist Leon Underwood. In 1928, Agar moved to Paris where she encountered André Breton, Paul Éluard, and the Surrealist circle. She returned to London two years later and created her first Surrealist work. She quickly became a leading British exponent of Surrealism and was the only professional British female artist represented at the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition. Agar continued to exhibit with the Surrealists in England and abroad, while also experimenting with automatic techniques, innovative materials, photography, and collage.
After World War II, she engaged in a new productive era and had almost sixteen solo exhibitions between 1946 and 1985. In 1965 Agar discovered acrylic paint. This newfound, quick-drying medium enabled Agar to explore new pigments and color combinations and aided the artist in her pursuit of the Tachist technique. The ability to experiment more quickly allowed Agar to revisit oil painting with a new energy whilst keeping true to her Surrealist roots.