Agar, Eileen (1899-1991) / Southampton City Art Gallery, Hampshire, UK / Estate of Eileen Agar / Bridgeman Images

On Loan

Eileen Agar (1904-1991)

The Object Lesson

Agar attended the Slade School of Art before spending time in Paris where she studied cubist painting and first encountered the Surrealist movement. In 1935 she met Paul Nash at Swanage and as well as starting an affair they developed a shared interest in found objects. Nash recommended Agar for the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition. She was surprised to find herself defined as a Surrealist but continued to exhibit with the group until after the Second World War.

Collage and found objects are important elements in Agar's work. For The Object Lesson Agar took an earlier abstract portrait and partially covered it with a wicker rack. Attached to the rack is a jointed lay figure (used by artists for studying poses) holding a paintbrush. The end of the brush has been speared into a cork given to Agar by Picasso.

Medium collage & bodycolour on board
Date 1940
Dimensions 558mm x 460mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 1977/51
Credit Line Purchased in 1977 through the Chipperfield Bequest Fund and with assistance from the Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund