Podcast #62: Leonor Fini

Our story for this episode comes from our friends at the Dead Ladies Show NYC, which is organized and hosted by Molly O’Laughlin Kemper with Sheila Enright.  Photographer, professional eccentric, and guinea-pig lover JR Pepper (previously on the pod with Mae West) tells the tale of artist Leonor Fini, a glamorous, passionate iconoclast (and cat lover) with a brilliant creative mind who was fiercely independent — at a time when women were allowed to be muses, not painters.

Like her friend Leonora Carrington, Fini is often called a Surrealist, but she didn’t consider herself one of their group due to their misogynistic views, which included viewing women as either childlike muse or femme fatale. Her paintings utilized the female gaze, and often featured catlike and other creatures inspired by Fini’s own striking appearance, accompanied by languid men. Leonor Fini’s life was as rule-breaking as her art; she had many lovers, and spent much of her life living in a happy throuple — along with about 20 cats.

DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins producer/host Susan Stone to introduce this episode’s featured Dead Lady.

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast.

Show notes:

Leonor dropping her mask in 1938
Gala, Salvador Dali, Leonor Fini and Andre Dimandiargues hanging out in 1940
Leonor and feline friend
Leonor Fini’s L’Alcove (Self-portrait with Nico Papatakis), 1941
Leonor Fini’s Femme Assise Sur un Homme Nu, 1942
Leonor’s illustration for Marquis de Sade’s Juliette, 1944
Rogomelec (Paris, Stock, 1979). English translation by William Kulik and Serena Shanken Skwersky (Cambridge MA: Wakefield Press, 2020)
Leonor’s perfume bottle design for Schiaparelli, allegedly inspired by Mae West
The very expensive 1933 portrait by Henri Cartier Bresson
Leonor and many many cats photographed by Cecil Beaton
Leonor’s La Vie Ideale, 1950
Leonor Fini, Les Mutantes, 1971
Leonor Fini, Chthonian Divinity Watching Over the Sleep of a Young Man, 1947
The happy throuple: Leonor, Stanislao Lepri, and Konstanty Jeleński in Corsica, 1960s
Leonor Fini, Autoportrait au scorpion, 1938

The Leonor Fini-inspired Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer show, 2018

For DLS NYC info and tickets, sign up to their newsletter here or follow them on Instagram.

Find JR Pepper on Instagram @girlduality.

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.