Autumnal Equinox

ITHELL COLQUHOUN (1906-1988) Biography
SURREALISM (founded c.1924) Biography

Autumnal Equinox (United Kingdom, 1949)

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Oil on canvas
Inscribed on a label verso Ithell Colquhoun, Stonecross Cottage, Green Land Pound, Penzance; and on another Official agents Alfred Styles and Sons, Autumnal Equinox


206.00cm high
81.00cm wide
(81.10 inches high)
(31.89 inches wide)
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Sotheby's London, Ithell Colquhoun Studio Sale, April 24, 1985, lot 540
Sotheby's, July 25, 1985, lot 54
Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries, The Poetry of Crisis, to 2006


Daily Mirror, February 19, 1949, illustrated front page.
Eric Ratcliffe, Ithell Colquhoun: Pioneer Surrealist Artist, Occultist, Writer and Poet, Mandrake 2016, illustrated in colour plate 80

Exhibition History

London, Suffolk Street Galleries, 1949
Bradford, City of Bradford Art Gallery, Cartwright Hall, Sixtieth Spring Exhibition, 1953, number 286
Exeter, City of Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Ithell Colquhoun Paintings, Collages and Drawings, 1972, number 3
Penzance, Newlyn Orion Gallery, Ithell Colquhoun: Surrealism, Paintings, Drawings, Collages 1936-76, 1976, number 18
London, Murray Feeley Fine Art, 1992

Description / Expertise

Ithell Colquhoun was first introduced to surrealism during her studies at the Slade, when the group visited Paris in 1931. It was here that she met Andre Breton with who she held lengthy discussions on the role of automatism, the release of images directly from the subconscious. Through the example of Breton and also Salvador Dali's famous lecture in 1936 for the International Surrealist Exhibition in London, she found the way to express her own spirituality.

Like many British artists, she joined the British Surrealist Group. Because the group was intolerant of those who strayed from their intensely dogmatic manifesto and doctrine, her affiliation with them was short-lived. Despite this, she was described as one of its most flamboyant and innovative members.(1) She was not only one of the few women to accompany her paintings with theoretical texts and surrealist fantasy writings, but also parodied male sexual imagery with her own.

(1) Louisa Buck, The Surrealist Spirit in Britain, Whitford and Hughes, London, 1988, Number 13