Lot 322
  • 322

Eileen Agar

10,000 - 15,000 USD
18,750 USD
bidding is closed


  • Eileen Agar
  • Woman's Head
  • Signed Agar (lower right)
  • Brush and ink and collage on velvet silk laid down on canvas
signed Agar (lower right)
ink on velvet silk 
31.7 by 22.2cm.; 12 1/2 by 8 3/4in.
Executed in 1942.


Galaozzi-La Placa Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above 


London, Birch & Conran, Eileen Agar: A Retrospective, 1987, no. 52
Berkeley, University Art Museum, Anxious Visions Surrealist Art, 1990, no. 6

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1942, Woman’s Head is indicative of Agar’s adaptation and manipulation of the Surrealist aesthetic with which she surrounded herself. After graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1926, Agar moved to Paris where she soon struck up a friendship with the Surrealist protagonists André Breton and Paul Éluard. Her collaboration with Paul Nash led him to recommend her work to Roland Penrose and Herbert Read, organizers of the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibitionat the New Burlington Galleries in London, making Agar the only female British artist included in the show. By 1940 her works had been shown in Surrealist exhibitions in Amsterdam, New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Agar explained her works as conveying “the interpenetration of reason and unreason” by creating connections among seemingly disparate forms. In true Surrealist fashion, Agar reveals a double reality in Woman’s Head by showing the unconscious mind at work on the exterior of the figure. In Woman’s Head the downward swooping lines and yellow pigment used to depict the profile contradict the systematically placed horizontal curvatures extending across the rest of the figure and into the background, demonstrating Agar’s enjoyment in fluidly mutating one shape into another.