FINI Leonor

Italian painter, watercolourist, draughtswoman, engraver and lithographer.

Leonor Fini was born on August 30, 1908 in Buenos Aires to an Italian mother and an Argentinean father whom she knew very little about. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Trieste, Italy. Very independent by nature, she left her family at the age of 17 for Milan. The young woman moved to Paris in 1933, befriending the surrealists Paul Eluard, Max Ernst and Georges Bataille, without ever really belonging to their group.

Self-taught, the young woman never attended a Beaux-Arts school. Alone, she discovered the painters of the Italian Renaissance and then the mannerists before developing her own style. Her inspiration is at the same time dreamlike, erotic and esoteric but, at the end of her life, her painting becomes much darker and negative, haunted by death.

Her first exhibition took place in Milan in 1932. Leonor illustrated books from Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and Sade among others, she also designed costumes, masks and sets for opera, ballet and theatre for plays by Shakespeare, Julien Gracq and Jean Genet. She has painted many portraits, including those of Genet, Magnani and Audiberti.

Leonor Fini died on January 18, 1996 in Paris.