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Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain
Lee Miller (1907-1977) moved to London in the late 1930s, just as a rich strand of Surrealist practice was burgeoning in Britain. Miller was central to its development and prolonged life after World War II, exhibiting alongside British Surrealists such as Eileen Agar and Henry Moore in often overlooked London exhibitions. This book is the first to present Lee Miller's photographs of, and collaborations with key British Surrealists alongside their artworks, to tell the story of this exciting cultural moment. Miller's photographs of noted continental Surrealists such as Max Ernst and E.L.T Mesens, taken while they were working and exhibiting in Britain, also feature alongside their works, documenting their enduring friendships with Miller and her husband, the artist Roland Penrose. Miller's interdisciplinary photographic practice acted as a conduit for the dispersal of Surrealist images out of the realm of fine art and into the worlds of fashion, commercial photography and journalism. A vital study for all students and enthusiasts of Surrealism and those enthralled by the enigmatic Lee Miller, this book reveals the social and cultural networks in which she was embedded, offering a holistic view of her work and the life of the Surrealist movement in Britain.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"A new exhibition seeks to reclaim Lee Miller's legacy as an artist in her own right, rather than a muse for others. It does so rather well." --Claudia Pritchard, The New European "The show dissects both the trope of Miller-as-muse and the female body-as-object more generally in a series of swift, sharp slices." --Lucy Scholes, NY Books "Lee Miller's "Nude Bent Forward": phallic curves from a pioneering female surrealist This marble-white, semi-abstract image of the female body plays with Freud's emerging theories of the sexual undercurrents in everyday life." --The Guardian ..". we have an inspired pairing of shows at The Hepworth Wakefield on Lee Miller and Viviane Sassen, two photographers with Surrealist leanings. Their work may be separated by three quarters of a century, but it is united by a desire to unsettle and spook. Since her death in 1977, Miller the muse has rather overshadowed..." --Christian House, Telegraph "The trouble with this show, however, is that there just aren't enough works by Miller. In a bid to place her in context, the curators overload us with pieces by middling British surrealists who were her peers but not her equals. Of the 140 exhibits, more than half are not by Miller. Which seems a pity, given that her archive extends to more than 60,000 works. This exhibition ends up, in fact, feeling like two distinct shows: one devoted to Miller, and another to mid-20th century surrealism in Britain. The former alone would have been sufficient." --Alistair Smart, Daily Mail