Nobody has been extra instrumental within the latest market revaluation of feminine Surrealist artists than San Francisco seller Wendi Norris. By way of a mixture of exhibitions, publications and symposia, she has elevated the visibility and worth of artists similar to Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning. Drawing on the early scholarship of her good friend, the artwork historian Whitney Chadwick, Norris has helped convey these fiercely imaginative artists out of the shadows solid by their lovers and husbands (Max Ernst within the case of Carrington and Tanning each) and into the mainstream of up to date artwork , culminating in museum performances and acquisitions and an exhibition on the 2022 Venice Biennale curated by Cecilia Alemani that generally seems like a tribute to Norris’ gallery program.
Now Norris focuses on one other surrealist eclipsed by her husband: the French-born, Mexican transplant Alice Rahon (1904-1987), who additionally made a cameo on this 12 months’s biennial together with her colourful, myth-filled work. This week the retailer launched a web based archive developed with the assistance of Rahon researcher Tere Arcq to serve lecturers and followers alike. (Rahon’s paper archive is on the Getty.) And from October 1 to November 5, Norris is mounting the exhibit Uncovering Alice Rahon at a brand new house on Jackson Avenue in San Francisco. A lot of the 17 works in that present, priced from $20,000 to $750,000, haven’t been on show for years. A handful are on mortgage from establishments. (After the present, the house will function the retailer’s headquarters, with occasional public initiatives.)
Based on Norris, this represents the artist’s first solo present in 45 years. “She had two gallery reveals within the Seventies, each in Mexico Metropolis, and nothing since,” she mentioned. “For years, collectors, curators and researchers have been telling me to actually take a look at her work.”
She did so in 2016, when she visited a collector in Mexico Metropolis who owned Rahon’s Self-portrait and autobiography from 1948, which she has since bought to the Artwork Institute of Chicago. She was struck each by its intimate imagery and its wealthy construction. “Her work has a shimmering high quality to it due to the sand,” she says.
“Rahon is the primary artist we all know of to make use of sand and crushed volcanic rock blended in oil on her canvases within the Nineteen Forties — Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo obtained that method from her,” says Norris. “In my estimation, she was making an attempt to emulate these cave work she noticed in Altamira, Spain, to present it that floor. There’s a wonderful brightness to the work.”
Born in 1904 within the village of Chenecey-Buillon in jap France, Rahon married Austrian artist Wolfgang Paalen in 1934 and joined the Surrealist motion in Paris across the similar time. They traveled collectively to Spain, India and the Pacific Northwest within the Thirties – and traveled extensively in avant-garde circles. A chronology on the brand new web site charts a few of these connections, from her temporary affair with Pablo Picasso, which ended when Paalen threatened to commit suicide, to her friendship with Frida Kahlo, who invited her to Mexico in 1939, the place she settled amongst a gaggle of emigrants which would come with Carrington and Varo. She and Paalen divorced in 1947, and he promptly married artist Luchita Hurtado, whereas she married filmmaker Edward Fitzgerald.
The positioning’s primary focus is to stipulate her arc as an artist, from her early days writing surrealist poetry to her flip to portray within the Nineteen Forties. Based on present estimates, Rahon created a complete of about 750 artworks, however within the absence of an property, it’s tough to know what number of works stay. The web archive, which presently shows about 50 artworks, is supposed to deal with that situation because it grows. “This web site is a residing, respiratory organism that we need to proceed to feed with photographs, so that folks can start to grasp the breadth and significance of her work,” says Norris.
- Uncovering Alice RahonOctober 1-November 5, Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.