See the Works of Leonor Fini, the Surrealist Female Artist Who Rejected Salvador Dalí

It’s hard to imagine not jumping at a personal invitation from Salvador Dalí to join his artist crew in officially pioneering Surrealism, but Leonor Fini, a little-known Argentine-Italian artist, was always one to defy expectations—starting with the sheer fact that she was a woman. While Fini maintained friendships with her almost entirely male artist counterparts, she steadfastly rejected not only the woman-as-muse views of the movement’s leader, André Breton, but also art history’s centuries-old approach to one of its most popular subjects—the female nude. (Not to mention any notions of gender norms, which are, of course, still common to this day.) As much as Fini stood out at the time, however, it’s only now, more than two decades after her death, that the artist is getting her due. Her first American museum survey, “Leonor Fini: Theatre of Desire, 1930–1990,” which is on view at the Museum of Sex, in New York, through March 2019, showcases just how much Fini’s often humorous work differs from your usual erotica; decades before any discussion of the so-called “female gaze,” Fini was known for upending the very concept of the nude in art by objectifying the men, not the women, in her work—an approach since embraced by the likes of Andy Warhol and Madonna. Take a look, here.

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