WOMEN SURREALISTS: SEXUALITY, FETISH, FEMININITY AND

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WOMEN SURREALISTS: SEXUALITY, FETISH, FEMININITY AND FEMALE
                       SURREALISM



                              BY



                   SABINA DANIELA STENT




                     A Thesis Submitted to
              THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
                       for the degree of
                  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY




                                       Department of Modern Languages
                     School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
                                           The University of Birmingham
                                                          September 2011
            University of Birmingham Research Archive
                              e-theses repository


This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third
parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect
of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or
as modified by any successor legislation.

Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in
accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further
distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission
of the copyright holder.
                                      ABSTRACT



The objective of this thesis is to challenge the patriarchal traditions of Surrealism by

examining the topic from the perspective of its women practitioners. Unlike past

research, which often focuses on the biographical details of women artists, this thesis

provides a case study of a select group of women Surrealists  chosen for the variety

of their artistic practice and creativity  based on the close textual analysis of selected

works. Specifically, this study will deal with names that are familiar (Lee Miller,

Meret Oppenheim, Frida Kahlo), marginal (Elsa Schiaparelli) or simply ignored or

dismissed within existing critical analyses (Alice Rahon). The focus of individual

chapters will range from photography and sculpture to fashion, alchemy and folklore.

By exploring subjects neglected in much orthodox male Surrealist practice, it will

become evident that the women artists discussed here created their own form of

Surrealism, one that was respectful and loyal to the movement's founding principles

even while it playfully and provocatively transformed them.
                              ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



I am grateful to the University of Birmingham School of Humanities for two 1-year

scholarships that helped to fund this project.

        I wish to thank the following people, all of whose support has made this thesis

possible:

        Caroline Pinon, the charge d'tudes documentaires at the Muse des Arts

Dcoratifs, Paris, who provided access to Schiaparelli's archive, and to the librarians

at the National Art Library, London, for allowing me access to Sablier couch;

        Dr Nick Martin, who encouraged me to study at PhD-level during my MA;

        Professor Martyn Cornick, whose support, encouragement and kindness have

been continually motivating throughout this project;

        Dr Stephen Forcer for unwavering encouragement, commitment and kindness.

Your supervision has been the backbone of this thesis from the project's early days as

an MA dissertation, and the past five years would have been much less enjoyable

without your support. I hope you have enjoyed supervising this project as much as I

have writing it;

        And a final huge thank you, too, Mum and Dad: for your endless love, open-

mindedness, constant support, and for teaching me how to laugh at the Surreality of

life.
                          CONTENTS



NOTE


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


INTRODUCTION                                                1-33


CHAPTER 1
     `THE MUSES' REVOLT:
     BEHIND THE CAMERAS OF LEE MILLER AND DORA MAAR'       34-70

CHAPTER 2
     `SCULPTURE AND SEXUALITY: THE EROTIC OBJETS OF MERET
     OPPENHEIM'                                         71-101

CHAPTER 3
     `THE FASHIONABLE SURREALISM OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI'
                                                         102-138

CHAPTER 4
     `THE COSMOS OF SURREALISM: LEONORA CARRINGTON,
     REMEDIOS VARO AND DOROTHEA TANNING'
                                                         139-180

CHAPTER 5
     `THE RELUCTANT SURREALIST: THE REAL ART OF FRIDA KAHLO'
                                                       181-213

CHAPTER 6
     `ALICE RAHON: THE LOST VOICE OF SURREALISM'         214-248


CONCLUSION                                               249-269


BIBLIOGRAPHY                                             270-287
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