Eileen Agar (1889-1991) was, to my mind, one of the most exceptional artists of the 20th century, especially during the 1930s when her paintings presented the generative power of life and imagination against Europe’s descent into horror, cruelty and war:
“Apart from rampant and hysterical militarism, there is no male element left in Europe, for the intellectual and rational conception of life has given way to a more miraculous creative interpretation, and artistic and imaginative life is under the sway of womb-magic.”
Today we shall explore Eileen Agar’s womb-magic with particular reference to her extraordinary painting:
The Autobiography of an Embryo [1934; Tate] which offers a wholly new philosophical way of seeing and understanding the world around us – and might indeed serve as the artist’s manifesto.
As ever, all are welcome to join the discussion – an open forum for ideas.
Tickets cost £10 on the door. We will start at 11.15am and finish around 12.30pm with coffee & biscuits. The meeting will be held on Saturday 30th July in the Lecture Theatre at The Beecroft Art Gallery.
Note: Eileen Agar’s painting “Caliban” [1945, Reiff Collection] will be on show at the Beecroft this summer: https://www.southendmuseums.co.uk/exhibitions/The-Reiff-Collection—British-Artists-of-the-20th-Century
Note 2: In August we continue the Summer of Surrealism with an overview of British Surrealism, then in September our focus is on the art of Leonora Carrington who, in 1936, wrote: “When one is overcome by demoralization and defeat, depressed or on the verge of suicide, that is the time to open one’s Surrealist Survival Kit and enjoy a breath of magical fresh air. To lay out its marvellous contents carefully before you and let them play …”