This lot is sold with a photo-certificate of authenticity from the artist signed and dated 1968 as well as the original bill of sale from Galería de Arte Mexicano dated 19 de Octubre de 1970. Please note that on the bill of sale the painting is referred to as Sueño (Nephesh as the Soul in a State of Sleep).
Although what drama is truly unfolding in the foreground is anyone’s guess, close scrutiny provides clues. Given the gloomy and isolated forest setting, combined with the foreground’s central figure in an outstretched pose of invocation, one might first imagine a witch’s Sabbath on an autumnal evening. All of these quasi-human personages are enveloped in dark robes and are crowned with odd pointed hats from which sprout curling feather-like accessories – such garments reinforcing the initial impression of sorcery. Flaming red eyebrows add a preternatural sharpness to their attentive glances and humorously suggest a batrachian’s night vision. On the left a seated figure nonchalantly pushes a red orb with a stick, his crossed-legs and delicate gestures bespeak an aristocratic ease. The six figures opposite him are involved in a variety of activities; one seems to be magically levitating a large black egg, others are accompanied by and are communicating with hybrid creatures, some of which walk upright like humans.
The focal point of the painting is in actuality easy to miss, but once discerned provides the keystone of meaning. In the center foreground is a small hole marked by a little flag, surrounded by small orbs that have apparently missed their mark. Is this a paranormal game of golf played with either fallen pomegranates or alchemical eggs? In Whitney Chadwick’s 1994 book on the artist, Leonora Carrington: La realidad de la imaginación, this same work is amusingly titled The 19th Hole. It is not unusual for Carrington’s work to have two titles, and this additional one indeed confirms our suspicions. Mixing her love of the occult with a finely honed sense of satire, Carrington takes a critical jab at the upper-class pretensions of her British upbringing and alchemically fuses the sacred and the profane. The mise-en-scène depicted in Un Sueño en el Bosque (The 19th Hole) is a perfect example of what Carlos Fuentes, in a 1965 essay on Carrington, would affectionately dub her “ironical sorcery.”
Susan Aberth, New York, 2006
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