Leonor Fini Biography

Leonor Fini

Argentine

1908-1996

Biography

Leonor Fini, painter, printmaker, designer, illustrator, and author, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 30, 1907, to Italian and Argentine parents. As a child, her mother fled with her to Trieste, Italy where she grew up. Fini had no formal art training as a child but her passion to paint and draw took her to Madrid where she was included in a group exhibition in 1929. In 1931, she moved to Paris and quickly established herself as an artist whose peers included Surrealists Andre Breton, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico. She is considered to be one of the few women to break into the French male-dominated Surrealist movement. Mainly autodidactic in her pursuit of the arts, she experimented with painting and printmaking. In the 1930s, she worked alongside many established European artists at Stanley William Hayter's experimental workshop Atelier 17.

Fini's extensive oeuvre includes graphic design, furniture design, and illustration. In the 1970s, she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe. She was the costume designer for two films, Renato Castellani's Romeo and Juliet (1954) and John Huston’s A Walk with Love and Death (1968), which starred Anjelica Huston and Moshe Dayan's son, Assaf. Fini created award-winning set designs, costumes, and posters for the Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Association.

Her work is represented in the Galleria Nazionale d’ Arte Moderna, Rome; Musee des Beaux Arts, Grenoble; Musee Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Museum of Fine Art, Lodz; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Leonor Fini Fini died in Paris on January 18, 1996, where she had lived since the 1950s with Count Stanislaw Lepri and Polish writer, Konstanty Jelenski (Kot), and numerous cats.