mercredi 6 novembre 2013

EILEEN AGAR (1899-1991)

Eileen Agar, née le 1er décembre 1899 à Buenos-Aires et morte le 17 novembre 1991 à Londres, est une artiste peintre et photographe anglaise qui a côtoyé le surréalisme.

En 1926, elle rencontre l'écrivain hongrois Joseph Bard. Ils s'installent à Paris en 1928 et elle y rencontre André Breton et Paul Éluard avec qui elle se lie d'amitié.

En 1936, elle présente trois tableaux, dont « Quadriga » et cinq objets à l'« Exposition surréaliste internationale » de Londres. En 1937, elle fait un séjour à Mougins, avec Paul et Nusch Éluard, Picasso et Dora Maar, Roland Penrose et Lee Miller qui réalise d'elle un portrait Jusqu'en 1940, elle participe aux expositions surréalistes organisées à Amsterdam, New York, Paris et Tokyo.

Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Eileen Agar commence une nouvelle période très productive : seize expositions personnelles de 1946 à 1985.

1899 Born 1st December in Buenos Aires.
Father James Agar, Scottish, mother half-English half-American. Father director of Agar Cross a family import business.
1911-17 Father retired, left Argentina for England. Eileen attended school at Canford Cliffs, Dorset, Heathfield Ascot (taught art by Lucy Kemp-Welsh); Tudor Hall, Chislehurst. To the Mlles Ozanne’s finishing School, London. Attended weekly classes at Byam Shaw School of Art
1919 The Agar family moved to Balfour Place, London
1920-1 Horace Kesteven, the music master at Tudor Hall, took Agar to studio of Charles Sims RA. Summer at Cap d’Antibes. Taught watercolour by William Thornley, who also took her to see the murals by Puvis de Chavannes at the Pantheon and to Rodin’s studio at Meudon. Trip to Argentina for her 21st Birthday celebrations. Attended Leon Underwood’s Brook Green School
1921-4 Attended the Slade part-time.
Taught by Professor Henry Tonks. Left home for a flat in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea and studio in Royal Avenue. Visited Paris, Madrid, Toledo and Seville with Robin Bartlett, fellow student at the Slade.
1925 Destroyed most of her work. November: married Robin Bartlett; they moved to flat in Fernshaw Road, Chelsea; December father died, leaving Agar £1000 per annum. Periods in cottage at Varengeville near Dieppe acquired by Bartlett
1926 Spring met Joseph Bard, began relationship that lasted fifty years. Separation from Bartlett
1927-28 Agar and Joseph Bard took a flat in Fitzroy Square. Winter spent in Portofino. Met Ezra Pound. Agar stayed behind in Rapallo to paint, Bard returned to London. Photographed by Cecil Beaton. Spring: returned to London. Summer holiday: Birling Gap, near Eastbourne; Autumn: moved to Paris, took a flat in Rue Schoelcher
1928-30 Studied painting with Czech Cubist painter, Frantisek Fòlt´yn; visited Brancusi’s studio; met Louis Marcoussis, André Breton and Paul Eluard
1929 Summer spent at Cap Martin. Visited by Evelyn Waugh
1930 Summer: Agar and Bard to Sark to stay with her sister, Winifred and her husband Hugh Mackintosh. Autumn: move to number 47 Bramham Gardens, London. Rodney Thomas designed interiors of studio and flat
1931 Publication of The Island, edited by Joseph Bard in collaboration with Leon Underwood. Agar contributed to all four numbers.
1933 First solo show at Bloomsbury Gallery – a seven-year retrospective. Joined the London Group, at suggestion of Henry Moore, and exhibited with them
1934 Summer at Wittersham, Kent. Visits from A R Orage and Henry and Irina Moore. Exhibited with the London Group. Made first collages
1935 Summer: Bard and Agar took house at Swanage - met Paul Nash through Ashley Havinden. Nash introduced Agar to the idea of the ‘found object’. She found a ‘seashore monster’.
1935-44 Affair with Paul Nash
1936 Penrose and Read as British selectors for the International Surrealist Exhibition, London, visited Agar’s studio and chose 3 oils and 5 objects. Agar’s work appeared in the exhibition held at the New Burlington Galleries, London, alongside work by Picasso, Miró, Ernst etc. July: Agar and Bard travelled to Ploumanach, Brittany. Agar acquired Rolleiflex camera and photographed the stones. Request from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for loan of Quadriga for Fantastic Art, Dada & Surrealism exhibition
1937 Summer: Eluard visited Agar and Bard in London. July: Agar and Bard stayed at Lambe Creek, Cornwall with Roland Penrose, Lee Miller, Paul and Nusch Eluard. Agar started affair with Eluard. September: travelled with them to Hôtel Vaste Horizon, Mougins to join Picasso and Man Ray. November: Surrealist Objects & Poems exhibition at the London Gallery. Agar exhibited Angel of Anarchy (first version). Also exhibited with International Association and with the London Group
1937-40 Showed in exhibitions organised by the Surrealists in England
1938 Summer: to Somerset – a period more of travel than work. September: to Knokke in Belgium. Agar took more photographs
1939 Spring: to Toulon. Agar painted soldiers on the quay and found the amphora base for the Marine Object in a fishing net. Exhibited with the London Group
1940 February 29th: married Joseph Bard. War disrupted painting. War work in a canteen in Savile Row until the end of the war. First meetings of the British Surrealists at the Barcelona Restaurant. Exhibited in Surrealism Today, at Zwemmer Gallery, London. Visits from Paul Nash
1941 Exhibited with the London Group
1942 Solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery, London; exhibited with the London Group (also in 1943 & 1947)
1944 Visit to Buttermere in Lake District. Agar painted watercolour landscapes. Visit to Edinburgh. ELT Mesens published poem about Agar in Troisième Front
1945 War ended. Visit to Cornwall
1946 Started painting again but dissatisfied with work
1947 Contributed to the Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Maeght, Paris. Travelled with the PEN Club to Stockholm
1948 Appeared on the BBC TV programme ‘The Eye of the Artist’ also on a programme introduced by James Laver on ‘Hats’
1949 Spring: solo exhibition at the Hanover Gallery, written up by Geoffrey Grigson in The Listener. Summer: with PEN Club to Venice. Met Peggy Guggenheim
1950 Summer: to Provence with sister Winifred
1952-3 Winter: to Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife; began to make watercolours and frottages of the landscape
1954-7 Winter: visits to Tenerife
1958 Agar and Bard moved to West House, Melbury Road, Kensington
1960 Visits to Venice and Cornwall. Joseph Bard unwell
1962 Joseph Bard ill. Tate Gallery bought the Flying Pillar
1965 Agar discovered acrylic paints
1968 Proposal for retrospective exhibition. Began large scale canvases for the exhibition
1971 Retrospective exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute, London
1975 July 26: death of Joseph Bard
1977 Appeared with George Melly, Roland Penrose, Conroy Maddox and Robert Melville in a TV reconstruction of a Barcelona Restaurant meeting of the British Surrealists
1981 Exhibition of recent work at the New Art Centre
1983 Appeared on ‘Omnibus’ TV programme about her career, presented by Richard Baker
1985 Began a series of paintings based on photographs of Ploumanach. Photographed by Lord Snowden modelling clothes by Issey Miyake
1987 Moved from Westbury House
1988 Autobiography A Look at my Life published
1989 Appeared in Channel Four TV documentary Five Women Artists
1990 Elected Academician of the Royal Academy, London
1991 November 17: died in London


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