Eileen AGAR Biography

Argentine-born British surrealist artist. Born Eileen Agar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 1, 1899; died in London, Nov 17, 1991; dau. of James and Mamie Agar; educated at Heathfield, Ascot; studied art under sculptor Leon Underwood (1924), at Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks (1925–26), and in Paris (1928– 30); m. Robin Bartlett (painter), 1925 (sep. 1926); m. Joseph Bard (Hungarian-born writer), 1940.

Artist, known as a surrealist, whose artistic works such as Quadriga were enormously popular; with family, settled permanently in London (1911); separated from husband and began lifelong relationship with Hungarian-born author Joseph Bard (1926) who was then married; broke away from conventional art and began developing her own style; set up a studio in the Rue Schoelcher in Paris (1929); became attracted to the formations in natural history, especially fossils, which culminated in her large work Autobiography of an Embryo (1934); continuing her fascination with nature, began gathering odd shapes from the Dorset beaches, such as cork, wood, shells, and stone; exhibited her work Angel of Anarchy in the London Gallery as part of the Exhibition of Surrealist Poems and Objects (1937) and became a major celebrity in the London gallery scene; was one of the few women, and the main British woman, who came to be recognized as part of the predominantly male surrealist movement; after WWII, work began to take on the characteristics of Abstract Expressionism, or the ‘‘New York School’’; continued artistic work well into old age, remaining influential in London art circles. Paintings include Self-Portrait (1927), Movement in Space (1931), The Modern Muse (1931), Autobiography of an Embryo (1933–34), Ceremonial Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse (1936), Battle Cry/ Bullet Proof Painting (1938) and Marine Object (1939).