Just had a vision of all those exquisite , outrageous1930’s Surrealist ladies ‘ swanning around ‘in their fabulous apparel. They were truly into their own thing and didn’t give a damn what anyone thought.
When I think of the Womens liberation movement and radical feminism of both earlier and later times , all the famous names come up… The Pankhusts. Milicent Fawsett, Susan Anthony, Betty Friedan, Emma Goldman, Gloria Steinem , the list goes on and on. I do wonder what they would have made of these women . Silly, frivolous, self absorbed, superficial no doubt. They would have been seen as apolitical ( non political), therefore of no consequence. However, these women artists were, in fact, way ahead of their time. They were indeed political, in their own persional way. There appeared to be no boundaries. All this despite the fact that men like Breton, founder of the Surrealists and many other male Surrealists had a perspective of their fellow women artists as a kind of Idealist muse, floating around on a piedestal whilst they , in the meantime, made all the vital decisions.
Funnily enough, years later, when my mother Rita was ” rediscovered” and the press, TV and all ,came banging on her door.I remember a wellknown woman TV journalist doing an interview with her..in which she several times alluded to the Feminsist movement and Ritas Feminism in her paintings . This truly did make me laugh, as the journalist insisted on reading politcs into Rita’s art. But Rita cleverly avoided all those questions.
Ok there was always politics in the family, my father being a journalist, writer cum art dealer, a communist, friends with all the top politicians in France, with artists like Picasso, the poet Paul Eluars and so on . But Rita’s politic’s amounted to no more than creating the occasional banner or poster for the then peace movement.
In her later year Rita returned to Surrealism, after ‘ amusing herself’ with set decors for television programmes and window dressings for major stores in Copenhagen.
Her Surrealist collages were immensely popular. So much so that , when exhibited at a major exibition of her paintings in a gallery near Copenhagen, I had to ‘beg Rita” to keep a few for me. Otherwise they would have all vanished.