Boijmans Van Beuningen acquires a major work by Surrealist Leonora Carrington

Again the Gemini are in the Orchard by Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

An international masterpiece by English female surrealist Leonora Carrington has been added to the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen thanks to the broad support of large funds. It is the first work of this artist in the museum collection and that of the Netherlands Collection. From now on it will be shown in the hall.

With the broad support of the Mondriaan Fund, Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to the Desirée Lambers Fund), BankGiro Loterij, Fonds van Rede Foundation, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation, Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds (partly thanks to the Breeman Talle Fund) and through Galerie mediation Dickinson in London, the painting Again the Gemini are in the Orchard by Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) could be acquired. The work is of exceptional quality and was offered by a private individual with an excellent collection of surrealistic art. From now on the work will be shown in the exhibition When the Shutters Close, where a selection of important highlights can be seen (until 26th May 2019).

Director Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Sjarel Ex: “All public and private funds, thank you for this wonderful addition to the surrealist collection of the museum. The work is a huge reinforcement of the cluster of female surrealists within the collection of the museum and a valuable addition to the Netherlands Collection that does not yet include any artwork by Carrington. ” 

Leonora Carrington and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 

The painting has a special provenance. Shortly after the painting was completed, the wealthy Briton Edward James purchased it. He owned several works by artists such as Dorothea Tanning and Leonor Fini. From the 1940s, James also began to collect Carrington’s work. When his foundation fell short of money in the late 1970s, a number of key works by Salvador Dalí and René Magritte came into the possession of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This was the start of a collection of surrealist art that today includes around 150 exceptional works by artists in the Breton circle. However, James kept the most beautiful pieces by Carrington, including the painting Again the Gemini are in the Orchard from 1947, until his death in 1984. The work was auctioned after his death and came into private ownership through the gallery that bought it not much later.Museum curator modern and contemporary art, Saskia van Kampen-Prein: “Carrington’s painting is not only an important addition to the museum’s world-famous surrealism collection, but also serves as a link between the collections of old and modern art. It combines the work of artists such as Jeroen Bosch and the surrealists, as it were.” 

Female surrealists 

The museum’s appreciation for surrealistic art slowly got going in the Netherlands in the 1960s. The female surrealists enjoyed even less fame in that period than their male colleagues. On the one hand they were adored by them, on the other hand their artistic qualities were marginalized by the same group of men. They were often assigned the role of muse, pleasure object or “femme-enfant”. It was said of these “child women” that they could charm men with their charm. This gave them access to the subconscious. Artists like Carrington have always resisted this role and wanted to be appreciated for their visual work. Only from the seventies did a number of articles about the artistic contribution of female surrealists bring about change. Carrington’s work demonstrates the importance of women’s contribution to international surrealism. In recent years, the museum has been actively looking at artists and subjects that have been overlooked in the past and deserve museum attention and recognition. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is thereby focused on the work and position of female surrealists.