Eileen agar

Eileen Agar 1899-1991
Eileen Agar was a British painter and photographer associated with the Surrealist movement. Agar was also photographed on the rooftops in Mougins in a transparent dress; of the Surrealists' dress-code and life-style, she would later remark "the punk rockers of the seventies and eighties were anticipated in their peacock plumes by the Surrealists, some forty years before."

Born in Buenos Aires in 1899, Agar moved to London with her (Scottish) father and (American) mother in 1911 where she attended weekly classes at Byam Shaw School of Art. In 1920 she attended Leon Underwood's Brook Green School of Art and between 1922 and 1926, the Slade School of Fine Art where she studied (part time) under Professor Henry Tonks. In 1927 she met, and was photographed by, Cecil Beaton. 

In 1928 Eileen Agar moved to Paris with the Hungarian writer Joseph Bard, were she studied art and first met the Surrealists André Breton and Paul Éluard. In 1933 Agar had her first solo exhibition - a seven-year retrospective, at Bloomsbury Gallery (London) and, at the suggestion of her friend Henry Moore, she joined the London Group. In 1934 she exhibited her first collages with the London Group (alongside Henry Moore) and spent the summer with Henry Moore and his wife Irina Radetsky at Wittersham in Kent. In 1935 she met Paul Nash (through the graphic designer Ashley Havinden) who introduced her to the idea of the 'found object' which fitted well with her collages and became a focal point to her work.

In 1936, Roland Penrose, the English Surrealist painter, poet, collector and promoter of modern art and the writer Herbert Read - both of whom later (in 1946) co-founded of the Institute of Contemporary Art (London); selected five of Agar's works for their International Surrealist Exhibition which was held in June at the New Burlington Galleries, London. Agar's works were exhibited alongside work by Picasso, Miró and Ernst. Attendance for the exhibition was in excess of 20,000. That same year, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, included Agar's 'Quadriga' in their Fantastic Art, Dada & Surrealism exhibition. 

Agar spent the summer of 1937 with Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Man Ray, Henry Moore and Irina Radetsky on The Fal River, Cornwall. In September she then travelled with Roland Penrose, Lee Miller, Paul & Nusch Eluard and Paul Nash to the Hotel Vaste Horizon in Mougins to join Pablo Picasso and Man Ray. Agar was also photographed at this time dancing on the rooftops in Mougins in a transparent dress; of the Surrealists' dress-code and life-style, she would later remark "the punk rockers of the seventies and eighties were anticipated in their peacock plumes by the Surrealists, some forty years before. Agar was also photographed at this time dancing on the rooftops in Mougins in a transparent dress; of the Surrealists' dress-code and life-style, she would later remark "the punk rockers of the seventies and eighties were anticipated in their peacock plumes by the Surrealists, some forty years before."



Agar appeared in the Channel Four TV documentary Five Women Artists in 1989 and was elected Academician of the Royal Academy in 1990

Eileen Agar died on 17th November 1991 in London