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Born in Buenos Aires Fini was brought up in Trieste, in Italy. Uninterested in the school curriculum, she determined to become an artist by immersing herself in books, in museums and learning about anatomy in the Morgue. Completely self-taught, she honed and refined her technical skills and creativity throughout her life.


She first moved to Milan then went to Paris, where she was to live most of her life.  Her beauty, outgoing personality and immense capacity for friendship brought her very close to many artists and Max Ernst introduced her to the Surrealist group presided over with an iron fist by André Breton, who was suitably impressed by her automatic drawings and proclaimed her a Surrealist muse. To his surprise, she snubbed this approach, considering her talent to be as good as that of any man: she felt an affinity with the work of many of the Surrealists, and exhibited regularly with them without ever formally joining their group.


She painted many images inspired by dreams and nightmares, experimented with abstraction and almost hyperrealistic naturalism, delved into design, producing the iconic scent bottle for Elsa Schiaparelli’s ‘Shocking’ based on Mae West’s pneumatic shape, a chair based on a corset and a winged wardrobe which was recently exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Surrealist Things’.


During the War Fini developed her style to encompass the nude male figure as well as the stylized elegance of her dominant female figures. She produced drawings of the dresses of the ‘Grands Couturiers’ for the leading fashion magazines as well as many illustrated books in very small editions often illustrated with original lithographs and etchings, which enabled her to indulge in complex erotic compositions.


She designed sets, costumes and posters for the Opera in Paris and Milan, Ballet (Roland Petit’s first, Young Ladies of the Night with Margot Fonteyn), and Movies (Renato Castellani’s Romeo and Juliet, 1954, Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, 1963, and John Huston’s A Walk With Love and Death, 1968) and wrote three novels.  She was photographed in exotic outfits and locations almost obsessively by Henri Cartier-Bresson, but also by Man Ray, Charles Henri Ford, Dora Maar, Erwin Blumenfeld, George Platt Lynes, Lee Miller, Horst P. Horst  and many others.







Sphinx: The Life and Art of Leonor Fini
Sphinx 1
Reference no.: 538
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 1
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
65 x 49.5
90/225
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 2
Reference no.: 539
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 2
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
70x52
101/185
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 3
Reference no.: 540
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 3
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
75 x 55
Artist's Proof
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 4
Reference no.: 541
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 4
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
37x28
0/190
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 7
Reference no.: 542
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 7
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
69.5 x 51.5
Artist's Proof 15/20
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 8
Reference no.: 543
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 8
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
70 x 52
9/185
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 9
Reference no.: 545
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 9
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
75 x 52.3
2/95
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 10
Reference no.: 546
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 10
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
63.8 x 51
6/95
Signed in pencil
Sphinx 12
Reference no.: 548
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Sphinx 12
c. 1980
Lithograph in colour
55.5 x 37.5
5/200
Signed in pencil
Lovers
Reference no.: 549
Leonor Fini, (1907-1996)
Lovers
c 1990
Lithograph in colour
36.5 x 27.5
Artist's Proof
Signed in pencil
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