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 Leonor Fini  (1907 - 1996)

About: Leonor Fini


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Lived/Active: Italy/France/Argentina      Known for: surreal female figure, illustration

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BIOGRAPHY for Leonor Fini
1907 (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
1996 (Paris, France)


Self portrait

Often Known For
surreal female figure, illustration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Leonor Fini was born in 1907 in Buenos Aires, Argentina of mixed Italian and Slavic descent.  She had no formal training in art but like most children, she drew and painted.  As a teenager she adorned her efforts with things like crushed eggshell, beads, etc.  By the time she was seventeen she was making portraits in oils of well-known people in Triest, which led to an invitation to move to Milan and paint the whole family of a government official.  In 1933 she moved to Paris and her work revealed a gift of fantasy that was close to Surrealism.

She also created paintings, posters and sets for the Paris Opera and costumes for the Comedie Francaise.  In addition to her work for the Parisian stage, she designed sets and costumes for La Scala opera house.  She illustrated several books. 

Outspoken and independent, she became part of the surrealist movement along with artists Andre Breton and Max Ernst.  She later became known for her images of mysterious exotic young women often portrayed as witches or fairies.

Striking in person as well as in her work, Fini appeared in public in heavy makeup and wearing unusual clothes with wide-brimmed hats and a great deal of jewelry.

She died on January 18, 1996 in Paris.

Compiled and submitted August 2004 by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California

Sources include:
The Oxford Companion to 20th Century Art, edited by Harold Osborne
Architectural Digest
Obituary in Los Angeles Times

(The birth date of the artist has been changed in this biography from 1908 to 1907, with proof being the passport of the artist provided by Neil Zukerman)

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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