Writers Series with Whitney Chadwick
July 3, 2018
Partners Village Store and Kitchen is pleased to welcome author Whitney Chadwick for our Summer Writers Series on Thursday, July 19th at 6pm, to talk about her stunning book, Farewell to the Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism.
Farewell to the Muse documents what it meant to be young, ambitious, and female in the context of an avant-garde movement defined by celebrated men whose backgrounds were often quite different from those of their younger lovers and companions. Focusing on the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, Whitney Chadwick charts five female friendships among the Surrealists to show how Surrealism, female friendship, and the experiences of war, loss, and trauma shaped individual women’s transitions from someone else’s muse to mature artists in their own right. Her vivid account includes the fascinating story of Claude Cahun and Suzanne Malherbe in occupied Jersey, as well as the experiences of Lee Miller and Valentine Penrose at the front line.
Chadwick draws on personal correspondence between women, including the extraordinary letters between Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini during the months following the arrest and imprisonment of Carrington’s lover Max Ernst and the letter Frida Kahlo shared with her friend and lover Jacqueline Lamba years after it was written in the late 1930s.
This history brings a new perspective to the political context of Surrealism as well as fresh insights on the vital importance of female friendship to its progress.
Whitney Chadwick is Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University, and has written widely on 20th-century European and American art, surrealism and gender issues. She is the author of Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement, the first full-length study of the women of surrealism, and her Women, Art, and Society is a required text in art history courses throughout the world. She has also contributed to exhibition catalogues on Sheila Hicks, Mona Hatoum, Wifredo Lam, Nalini Malani, Leonora Carrington and Lee Miller.