1 December 1899|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||7 November 1991
|Education||Byam Shaw School of Art, Slade School of Fine Art|
Born in Buenos Aires to a Scottish father and American mother, Agar moved with her family to London in 1911. After attending Heathfield St Mary's School, she studied, beginning in 1919, at the Byam Shaw School of Art. Then, in 1924, she studied under Leon Underwood at his school at Brook Green. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1925 to 1926. She also studied art in Paris from 1928 to 1930.
In 1926, Agar met the Hungarian writer Joseph Bard, whom she married in 1940. In 1928, they lived in Paris where she met the Surrealists André Breton and Paul Éluard with whom she had a friendly relationship. She was a member of the London Group from 1934 onwards.
Agar exhibited with the Surrealists in England and abroad. During the 1930s Agar's work focused on natural objects often in a light-hearted manner such as Bum-Thumb Rock, a set of photographs of an unusual rock formation she noticed in Brittany. She started to experiment with automatic techniques and new materials, taking photographs and making collages and objects. The Angel of Anarchy, a plaster head covered in fabric and other media, is such an example from 1936–40 and is now in the Tate collection. In the mid-1930s Agar and Bard began renting a house for the summer at Swanage in Dorset. Here she met Paul Nash and the two began an intense relationship. They collaborated on a number of works, some of which were based on found objects, such as the work Seashore Monster at Swanage. Nash recommended her work to Roland Penrose and Herbert Read, the organisers of the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, in London and she became the only British women to have work, three paintings and five objects, included in that exhibition.
In 1937, Agar spent a holiday at Picasso and Dora Maar's home in Mougins, Alpes-Maritimes, along with Paul Éluard, Nusch, Roland Penrose and Lee Miller, who photographed her. By 1940, works by Agar had appeared in surrealist exhibitions in Amsterdam, New York, Paris and Tokyo.
After World War Two, Agar started a new productive phase of her life, holding almost 16 solo exhibitions between 1946 to 1985. By the 1960s she was producing Tachist paintings with Surrealist elements. She died in London. Agar has paintings in the collection of several British institutions including Derby Art Gallery, Bradford and the UK Government collection.
- "The Angel of Mercy", painting, 1934.
- "Quadriga", painting, 1935
- "The Angel of Anarchy", object, 1940
- "L'horloge d'une femme" painting, 1989
- Whitney Chadwick. "Artist biography Eileen Agar". Tate. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- A S Byatt (27 November 2004). "Angel of anarchy". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Frances Spalding (1990). 20th Century Painters and Sculptors. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 1 85149 106 6.
- Tate. "Catalogue entry T03809 Angel of Anarchy". Tate. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Penelope Curtis (Editor) (2013). Tate Britain Companion, A Guide to British Art. Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84976-033-1.
- Jane Ure-Smith (5 March 2005). "From Swanage with love". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Colvile, p. 25
- BBC/ Public Catalogue Foundation. "Your Paintings:Eileen Agar". Retrieved August 2011.
- Rachel Barnes (contributor) (2001). 20th-Century Art Book. Phaidon Press (London). ISBN 0714835420.
- Colvile, p. 26
- Colvile, p. 27
- Colvile, p. 29
- Georgiana Colvile, Scandaleusement d'elles: trente-quatre femmes surréalistes, Jean-Michel Place, Paris, 1999
- Paintings by Eileen Agar at the BBC Your Paintings site
- Redfern Gallery
- Leicester Galleries
- Pallant House Gallery