On April 6, 1917, Leonora Carrington was born in Lancashire, England. The daughter of a wealthy textile manufacturer, she grew up on a large estate, Crookhey Hall, a whimsical setting that set the stage for her work’s exploration of myth, folklore, religious ritual, and the occult. At the age of 18, Carrington was sent to the Chelsea School of Art in London. After a few months, she transferred to the recently opened Ozenfant Academy for Art in London. It was at the 1936 International Surrealism Exhibition in London that she first encountered Surrealism and the work of Max Ernst. A year later, Carrington and Ernst met and she moved to Paris with him, entering Andre Breton’s Surrealist ring. In France, Carrington would create her first work The Inn of the Dawn Horse (Self-Portrait), now held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
After first relocating to New York, Carrington eventually moved to Mexico City, where she met artist Remedios Varo and the Hungarian photographer Emerico “Chiki” Weisz, who she later married. Still haunted by her childhood fascination with nature and animals, Carrington’s works contain half animal, half human creatures, and depict vast fields with houses in the background, reflective of her childhood at Crookhey Hall. By 1960, Carrington was well-known in Europe and Mexico, and a retrospective of her work, containing fifty-five pieces, was held at the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Tate Modern, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. One of the last surviving Surrealist artists, Carrington died on May 25, 2011 in Mexico City.