News & press

Major Agar retrospective is a 'must-see', say art critics

May 18, 2021

Critics from national newspapers and magazines, including the GuardianFinancial Times and Frieze, have picked Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy as a 'must-see' show of 2021. 


According to the Guardian, the upcoming retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery "makes the case for Agar as an underappreciated modernist trailblazer". In recommending the show, Laura Cumming describes Agar's work as having "a characteristically independent joie de vivre", while the Evening Standard applauds how Agar "explored sexual desire, classicism, nature and the unconscious with wit, verve, dynamism and originality".


The exhibition is also among The Times' 'best' shows of the year. And in an extensive preview published recently in the Financial Times, Christina Heflin describes the Agar retrospective as "a momentous occasion", and the most significant show of her work to date. 


While Agar has been the subject of museum retrospectives before - such as at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Pallant House, and the Jerwood - this latest show is the most comprehensive so far, featuring over 100 works.


Drawn from public and private collections from around the world, the works on view span seven decades, and many diverse media, such as painting, collage, sculpture and photography. Curated by the Whitechapel's Laura Smith, the show takes its name from that of a sculpture completed by Agar in 1940. Now in the Tate's permanent collection, the sculpture was recently described by Tate Britain curator Alex Farquharson as "a Surrealist masterpiece". The exhibition has been complemented by loans from The Redfern Gallery, who has also helped assist with tracing works sold to private collectors.   


Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy runs from 19 May to 29 August, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.


To celebrate this year's major Eileen Agar retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Redfern Gallery have invited five contemporary artists to respond to and exhibit alongside Agar’s work. Eileen Agar: Another Look confirms Agar's place as one of the most spirited, intriguing, and prolific artists of her generation and runs from May 29th - July 17th 2021