26 July 2009


(this is a fantastic photograph I found of her)

Eileen Agar, born in 1899 in Buenos-Aires, is one of the few women associated with the Surrealist movement. She spent most of her time in London, though she did live in Paris for a short while. She married in 1927, but soon developed an affair with writer Joseph Bard, whom she eventually married in 1940. Bard was highly influential to her and is very apparent in her work. He was quite often the subject of her pieces and posed for her on numerous occasions. Agar's work mostly consists of painting, but ranges from sculpture, collage, and other mixed media as well. She continued making work until her death in 1991. 

The above piece is the one highlighted in the Artbook. Entitled, "The Angel of Mercy," Agar created this in 1934 using collage and watercolor on plaster. "The Angel of Mercy" seems to epitomize her efforts in Surrealism; though clearly sculpted to portray the head of a man (Bard, to be exact), this sculpture further references mythology in its oddly painted swirls of color, stars on the chin and upper lip, and Classics-style hair. This work is also hinting at the surge of the Abstract movement that was soon to come in this time period.

I also choose to include below some of her paintings and collages. I found her use of mixed media particularly interesting, since it seems a bit out of the norm for the time period. One painting I'd like to mention is "The Lovers" (1933, above). With stylistic similarities to Matisse and Cezanne, "The Lovers" is a beautiful example of Fauvist color and technical theory. Moreso, I was really drawn to its thematic elements. The title alludes to two people, lovers, and was painted around the time of her affair with Bard. However, in the piece, only the woman is portrayed, with an oblong shape close to her head, giving the impression of another, mysterious figure. Where even the details of the woman's dress are shown, Agar doesn't give facial features to the other figure. The dark shadow of the other lover's body is almost an element of the background, yielding elusiveness akin to a secret affair. I think this is a beautiful representation of the relationship she was having with Bard at the time. 

"Tropical Study"

"Demeter," 1949


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