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Dissing the diva, Germain Greer slams 'The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington'

Books | By Germaine Greer

'The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington' by Joanna Moorhead is reviewed by Germaine Greer

In defiance of Whitney Chadwick’s Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement, I continue to harbour the heretical notion that the women of surrealism, besides being young, slim (always) and rich (often), were for the most part entirely misled about the degree of their artistic talent.  Women who spend their lives illustrating an autobiography in which they are forever young and surrounded by angels or adoring animals, appear to me to be performance artists rather than painters. To such sour misgivings must be added a deep dislike of the abuse of the word ‘surreal’ as in The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington. Joanna Moorhead began to visit the 89-year-old Leonora Carrington in Mexico City in 2006 because Carrington was the daughter of her great-aunt, and the black ewe of their Catholic family. Moorhead tells us that Carrington’s Catholicism was always central to her world view but does not discuss whether she...

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