Biography

1899 Born in Buenos Aires
1911 Sent to Canford Cliffs, Dorset, to begin her education
1919 Attended the Byam Shaw School of Art, London
1920-22 Taught watercolour painting by Georges William Thornley. Studied under Leon Underwood at Brook Green School of Art
1921-24 Attended Slade School of Fine Art, taught by Henry Tonks
1925 Married Robin Bartlett, a Slade student. Moves to Varengéville in France with Bartlett
1926 Met Joseph Bard. Separated from Bartlett
1928-30 Studied in Paris, met and befriended André Breton, Paul Éluard and Ezra Pound
1929 Spent the spring in the Basque country and the summer at Bandol and Menton in France
1930 Started to paint abstract works. Moves to Bramham Gardens, London
1933 First solo exhibition at Bloomsbury Gallery. Became a member of the London Group at Henry Moore's suggestion
1934 Met Dylan Thomas and David Gascoyne. Becomes friends with Ben Nicholson, Jacob Epstein and Alexander Calder
1935 Met Paul Nash who introduced Agar to the 'found object'
1936 Exhibited at the landmark 'International Surrealist Exhibition' in London, alongside Salvador Dali. Photographed the Ploumanac'h rocks. Signed the fourth Bulletin International du Surréalisme as a member of the Surrealist Group in England
1937 Featured in Alfred Barr's 'Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism' exhibition at MoMA in New York. Holidayed at Picasso and Dora Maar's home in Mougins; met Lee Miller.
1940 Worked in a canteen in Savile Row as part of her war duty. Married Joseph Bard
1941 Exhibited with the London Group
1942 First solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery
1944 Spent the summer in the Lake District and paints watercolour landscapes
1945 War ended. Visited Cornwall with Bard
1948 Appeared on TV programme 'The Eye of the Artist' and on a programme introduced by James Laver on 'Hats'
1949 Met peggy Guggenheim in Venice on the occasion of the PEN Club meeting
1952-3 Spent the winter in Tenerife. Met Eduardo Westerdahl. Made watercolours, collages and frottages. Went back every year until 1957
1965 Started to paint with acrylic
1971 Participated in the 'Britain's Contribution to Surrealism of the '30s and '40s' exhibition at the Hamet Gallery, London. Full-scale retrospective of her works at the Commonwealth Institute
1975 Joseph Bard died
1988 Published her autobiography 'A Look at My Life' with Andrew Lambirth
1990 Elected a Senior Member of the Royal Academy
1991 Died - buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1933 Bloomsbury Gallery, London
1942 The Redfern Gallery, London (Michael Rothenstein)
1944 The Redfern Gallery, London
1947 Leger Galleries, London
1949 Hanover Gallery, London
1951 Hanover Gallery, London
1957 Obelisk Gallery, London
1962 Brook Street Gallery, London
1963 Galleria Billico, Rome
1964 Brook Street Gallery, London (Retrospective)
1971 Commonwealth Art Gallery, London (Retrospective)
1975-84 New Art Centre, London
1987 & 1990 Birch and Conran Fine Art, London (Retrospective)
1999 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Leeds City Arts Gallery
2000 Redfern Gallery, London, 'Centenary Exhibition'
2004 Redfern Gallery, London
2009 Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 'Eileen Agar: An Eye for Collage'
2017 Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, 'Eileen Agar: Bride of the Sea'
Redfern Gallery, London
2018 Farley's House & Gallery, Chiddingly

Selected Group Exhibitions

1936 New Burlington Galleries, London, 'International Surrealist Exhibition'
1937 MoMA, 'Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism'
Nippon Salon, Tokyo, ‘Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme'
London Gallery, 'Surrealist Objects and Poems'
1938 Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Gallerie Robert, Amsterdam, 'International Surrealist Exhibition'
1939 London Gallery, 'Living Art in England'
1940 Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, ‘Surrealist Work: Artists International Association’
Zwemmer Gallery, London, 'Surrealism Today'
1947 Galerie Maeght, Paris, ‘Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme’
1952 New Burlington Galleries, London, ‘The Mirror and The Square’
1961 Museum of Modern Art, New York, ‘The Art of Assemblage’
1966 Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, 'Paintings by Eileen Agar, John Bolam, Rama Rao'
1969 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, ‘John Moores Exhibition’
1971 Hamet Gallery, London, 'Britain's Contribution to Surrealism of the '30s and '40s'
1974 Hayward Gallery, London, ‘British Painting 1974’
1979 Hayward Gallery, London, ‘Thirties: British Art and Design Before the War'
1982 Galerie 1900-2000, Paris, ‘Les enfants d’Alice. La peinture surréaliste en Angleterre 1930-1960’
1986 The Mayor Gallery, London, ‘British Surrealism: Fifty Years On’
Canterbury, Newcastle, Leeds, Bristol, 50th Anniversary of the London 'International Surrealist Exhibition' of 1936
1990 Galerie Zabriskie, Paris, ‘Collages Surréalistes’
1992 Norwich Gallery, Norfolk Institute of Art and Design, ‘Ten Decades: Careers of Ten Women Artists Born 1897-1906’
1997 IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, ‘El Objeto Surrealista’
2000 Tate Modern, London, ‘Inaugural Exhibition’
2008 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, ‘British Surrealism & Other Realities: The Sherwin Collection’
2016-17 Tate Britain, London, 'Paul Nash'
2017 White Cube, Bermondsey, London, 'Dreamers Awake'

Selected publications

Nash, P. (introduction), 'Eileen Agar and Michael Rothenstein', London: Redfern Gallery, 1942 (ex. cat.)
Read, H. (introduction), 'Eileen Agar. Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings and Collages 1930-64', London: Brook Street Gallery, 1964 (ex. cat.)
Agar, E. (with Andrew Lambirth), 'A Look at my Life', London: Michelin House, 1988
'Eileen Agar 1899-1991', Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 1999 (ex. cat.)
Byatt, A.S., 'Eileen Agar 1899-1991: ‘An Imaginative Playfulness’, London: Redfern Gallery, November 2004– January 2005 (ex. cat.)
Lambirth, A., 'Eileen Agar: An Eye for Collage', Chichester: Pallant House Gallery, 2008 (ex. cat.)
Remy, M., 'Eileen Agar: Dreaming oneself awake', London: Reaktion Books, 2017

Selected collections

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand
Bassetlaw District Council, Nottinghamshire
Bradford Museums & Galleries
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu, New Zealand
Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Derby Museums and Art Gallery
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Government Art Collection, London
The Hepworth Wakefield
The Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art
National Galleries of Scotland
National Museum of Wales
National Portrait Gallery, London
National Trust
Plymouth City Council
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Southampton City Art Gallery
Tate
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester

Eileen Agar RA

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