(Sphinx Amalburga (Sphinx amoureux) - 1941 - Oil on canvas,)
Born in Buenos Aires, Léonore Fini (1908-1996) is a surrealist painter, known for her powerful representations that explore both, the sexuality and femininity of the woman.
Like many other surrealists, Fini works with various media in addition to painting and drawing. She writes, designs jewelry and furniture. In the late 1930s, she collaborates with Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and, for her, sketch designs for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar. She also creates a bottle in the shape of a woman's torso for the perfume of the designer called ''Shocking''.
Léonore leaves her family at 17. With little formal artistic training, which she acquired in art books, along her travels and while visiting museums throughout Europe, she moves to Milan.
In Paris, Fini meets André Breton and the surrealists. Inspired by their theories, she experimented with "automatic drawing". She is mentioned in the most complete works on surrealism, although she did not consider herself a surrealist. By herself, she explored a dreamlike universe featuring characters with closed eyes. Somewhat androgynous young people, evolving or dreaming in a climate of ceremonial feast where eroticism flirts with cruelty. For Fini, the woman is a sorceress or priestess, beautiful and sovereign.
Her first monographic exhibition was held in New York in 1939.
Hybridity became an overarching theme in her paintings and drawings. She often used the sphinx to represent a powerful or autonomous woman, and it became something of an alter ego for her. Sphinx Amalburga (1942; also called ''Le Sphinx Amoureux''), for example, shows a nude male lying limp in the arms of a Fini-headed sphinx. The sphinx will occupy her paintings throughout the 1940s.
In 1946, she met the Italian diplomat Stanislao Lepri whom she encouraged to paint. He joined her in Paris in 1950, became her companion , and shared her life and studio until his death in 1980.
Léonor Fini loved cats. She painted many canvases and drew several sketches and watercolors as a tribute to her furry friends. In 1977, she even devoted an entire book to her passion for felines, ''Mirror of cats''.
From 1939 until her death, more than 45 personal exhibitions of her works were recorded in Europe and the United States. She died in a hospital in the suburbs of Paris, without ever having stopped painting and writing.