2 More

Bearded Horse Sheet from the September 1940 sketchbook (Sanatorio Morales, Santander).

Bearded Horse
Sheet from the September 1940 sketchbook (Sanatorio Morales, Santander).
inscribed by the artist 'J. I love you' (on the reverse)
graphite on paper
10 ½ x 16 ¼ in. (26.7 x 41.3 cm.)
Executed in 1941.
Julien Levy collection, New York (acquired directly from the artist).
Sale; Tajan, Paris, Hommage à Julien Levy, 6 October 2004, lot 481.
Sale; Cambi Casa D'Aste: Modern and Contemporary Art, Genova, Italy, 4 December 2018, lot 5.
Private collection, Arizona (acquired from the above sale).
Further Details
We are grateful to Dr. Salomon Grimberg for his assistance cataloguing this work.

Brought to you by

Kristen France
Kristen France Vice President, Specialist

Lot Essay

The present work is from a series of important drawings by Carrington, executed between 1940 and 1941—a crucial time in the artist’s life when she lived in Spain and, later New York. Bearded Horse, like many of the drawings executed during these brief but life-altering two years, reflect a tumultuous time, when at the young age of 23, Carrington was involuntarily committed to the Sanatorio Morales in Santander Spain, following a nervous breakdown due to the sudden and forced separation from her lover, Max Ernst, who was imprisoned in France at the onset of World War II. Carrington subsequently fled to Spain, where her parents had her institutionalized in the psychiatric hospital to undergo convulsive shock treatment. Carrington recounts the mental and physical torture she endured there in Down Below (published for the first time in VVV (no. 4, February 1944) and later as a book in 1972). By 1941, Carrington managed to escape the Sanatorio, fleeing to Portugal, where she married Mexican diplomat Renato Leduc and together, they left Europe behind for New York.

The horse, a recurring theme throughout Carrington’s oeuvre and a potent symbol for Carrington herself, figures prominently across this series of drawings, cataloguing of the young artist’s mental decline. In one, a horse is swimming, in another, pulling a ship across the waves, or in the present work, the equine appears mid-flight, perhaps fleeing or frightened, leaping towards the unknown.

As Solomon Grimberg notes, “In order to understand the workings of Carrington’s creative process, one needs to understand the significance of the horse in her iconography. Its symbolism is multi-determined. It represents, not only her alter ego, but also her drive, her access to the invisible worlds, the sustenance of her internal reality, and the energy that provides her with the impetus to transcend the irrationality of the human world.” (S. Grimberg, “Leonora Carrington and Julian Levy”, 2004.) Bearded Horse, like others from the series, “is a vital example of the creative force that nurtured a career that began long before Leonora Carrington and Surrealism crossed paths.” (S. Grimberg, 2004). Nevertheless, when the Surrealist art dealer Julien Levy met Carrington upon her arrival in New York in 1941, the connection and friendship was instantaneous. The inscription “J. I love you” written on the verso of Bearded Horse refers to the tender relationship between the two, a close kinship and love that lasted for forty years, until Levy’s death in 1981.

More from Latin American Art

View All
View All