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250 × 190 mm
240 pages
135 illustrations, 104 in colour
01 Oct 2017

Eileen Agar Dreaming Oneself Awake Michel Remy

Born in Buenos Aires in 1899, and reborn in Paris in 1928, Eileen Agar was an artist whose work throughout her long career synthesized elements of the two main art movements of the twentieth century: Cubism and Surrealism. This monograph, the first full account of Agar’s complete works, including paintings, collages, photographs and objects, comes at a time when there is a major revival of interest in Surrealism in the UK and worldwide.

Drawing on personal conversations with the artist as well as original research, Michel Remy examines the life and work of the artist through­out her long career, from her passage through Cubism and abstraction to Surrealism, as well as her dedicated participation in Surreal­ist activities in England and abroad. Each period is illustrated with many striking images, including rare photographs, and supported by penetrating interpretations. The powerful myth-making drive that underlies Agar’s output is revealed, as well the tenderness, humour, poetry, love of nature and the world, subversion of the laws of reality, and celebration of femininity that suffuses each of her works.

This is a timely, fresh and cogent account of a fascinating woman artist whose quality of work, independence of mind and freedom of imagination refute the assertion that women have not played a major role in the story of Surrealism. The book will appeal to anyone interested in art history and Surrealism.

‘Reaktion Books has brought out a gorgeously illustrated first monograph on the work of Eileen Agar. The French scholar Michel Remy looks briefly at the various stages of Agar’s career, following her attraction to the avant garde and the development of her work through cubism into surrealism, and considering her artistic philosophies as they informed those developments.’ – Lauren Elkin, The Guardian

‘a pioneering study’ – The Spectator

‘I hope Remy’s book starts an avalanche: Eileen Agar deserves much more informed critical attention.’ – The Art Newspaper

‘The first fully comprehensive study of Agar, whose importance has belatedly been recognised. Remy skilfully weaves biography into his detailed and illuminating discussion of her paintings, collages and objects. He has an unrivalled command of the subject and the access to unpublished material, diaries and letters enriches the story at every turn. A major contribution to our understanding of Agar’s work.’ – Dawn Ades, Professor Emeritus, University of Essex

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Michel Remy is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Art History at the University of Nice, France. The leading authority on British Surrealism, he has published widely on the subject and has co-curated several Surrealist exhibitions in France and England. He is the author of many books, including The Surrealist World of Desmond Morris (1991), Surrealism in Britain (1999) and On the Thirteenth Stroke of Midnight: Surrealist Poetry in Britain (2013).