La Confiserie (1932)
Leonor Fini (August 30, 1907 – January 18, 1996) was an Argentine surrealist painter.
Life and work
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was raised in Trieste, Italy. She moved to Milan at the age
of 17, and then to Paris, in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, among many
others, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, André Pieyre
de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí. She traveled Europe by car with Mandiargues and
Cartier-Bresson where she was photographed nude in a swimming pool by Cartier-Bresson. The
photograph of Fini sold in 2007 for $305,000 – the highest price paid at auction for one of his
works to that date.
She painted portraits of Jean Genet, Anna Magnani, Jacques Audiberti, Alida Valli, Jean
Schlumberger (jewelry designer) and Suzanne Flon as well as many other celebrities and wealthy
visitors to Paris. While working for Elsa Schiaparelli she designed the flacon for the perfume,
“Shocking”, which became the top selling perfume for the House of Schiaparelli. She designed
costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, including the first ballet performed by
Roland Petit’s Ballet de Paris, “Les Demoiselles de la nuit”, featuring a young Margot Fonteyn.
This was a payment of gratitude for Fini’s having been instrumental in finding the funding for
the new ballet company. She also designed the costumes for two films, Renato Castellani’s Romeo
and Juliet (1954) and John Huston’s A Walk with Love and Death (1968), which starred 18 year old
Anjelica Huston and Moshe Dayan’s son, Assaf.
She once said,
Marriage never appealed to me, I have never lived with one person. Since I was 18, I’ve
always preferred to live in a sort of community – A big house with my atelier and cats and
friends, one with a man who was rather a lover and another who was rather a friend. And it has always worked.