Art, Books and Culture Group meeting Saturday 30th July – Surrealist Magic (1): The Art of Eileen Agar

Eileen Agar: The Muse of Construction [1939; private]

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 1933-4 Eileen Agar 1899-1991 Purchased 1987

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:—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 …”

Leonora Carrington: The Giantess
[1947; MoMA]


About TheCommonViewer

Independent Researcher: gently exploring the art and artists of early 20th century Britain (with forays elsewhere, in particular Russian Art History); the Art, Books & History Group meets monthly in Southend-on-Sea Twitter: @TheCommonViewer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: