Oval Object 1953

EILEEN AGAR RA (1899-1991) Biography
SURREALISM (founded c.1924) Biography

Oval Object 1953 (United Kingdom, 1953)

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Oil and crayons on pulpboard
Signed, also signed and titled on artist's label on the backboard

Dimensions

76.00cm high
96.50cm wide
(29.92 inches high)
(37.99 inches wide)
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Provenance

The artist (until at least 1964)

Private Collection, United Kingdom

Exhibition History

London, Tate Gallery, London Group Jubilee Exhibition, 15th July - 16th August 1964, catalogue number 79

Description / Expertise

Eileen Forrester Agar was born in 1899 in Buenos Aires of British parents, and she came to England in 1906. She studied at Leon Underwood's school in Hammersmith, where she studied with Gertrude Hermes, the designer and architect Rodney Thomas, and Henry Moore. Underwood's insistence on drawing and understanding the human form would have proved useful, as afterwards she went to study under Henry Tonks at the Slade from 1925-26.

From 1928-30 she studied art in Paris, under the Czech Cubist painter Foltyn, and it was from him that she learnt the importance of abstract picture construction, which was later to become the basis of her mature pictorial style. She was a member of the London Group from 1933, she was associated with Surrealist manifestations in London in 1936, and took part in various international Surrealist exhibitions in England and abroad. As the only English woman of the group who had already been a professional artist she attracted considerable media attention.

In 1937 she visited Picasso at Mougins with Paul Eluard, Roland Penrose and Man Ray. The war disrupted her painting, and she did not start working again seriously until 1946. This was after a holiday to Tenerife when her former relish for painting was reawakened by the brilliant light and tropical colour of the island.

Although Agar was greatly influenced by the Surrealists, her achievement was to draw from both Surrealism and Abstraction and to create a unique style suited to her chosen subject matter. In 1965, Agar abandoned oil paints for acrylics, and her paintings took on a new vibrancy.