Farewell to the Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism

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Product Details

Thames & Hudson
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.2 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Whitney Chadwick is a professor emerita at San Francisco State University. Among her other books are Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement and Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership.


Set within a vividly realized historical context, steeped in psychological perceptions, and richly illustrated, Chadwick's unique look at the women of surrealism deepens our understanding of the movement and the lives of women artists in a time of chaos and catastrophic war. She channels the intensity of these courageous and radical women in stories of astonishing resiliency, camaraderie, complicated love, and creative synergy.
Concentrating on the years before, during and after World War II, Ms. Chadwick sets out to address what she calls 'the vexed question of what it had meant to be young, ambitious and female in the context of an avant-garde movement defined by celebrated men.' She explores five relationships between women ranging from supportive friendships to brief love affairs to lifetime lesbian couplehood... Absorbing... Most of the women in 'Farewell to the Muse' emerge as distinct personalities, perhaps difficult, but interesting to know.
Farewell to the Muse is an absorbing story...full of tantalizing, borderline lascivious, yet essential detail. It is a book particularly suited to this moment of re-evaluation of the contributions of women in myriad fields. Chadwick's account... goes a long way to explaining Surrealism. No wonder artists developed unconventional, often dark images, when they lived in a world of shifting social mores, economic uncertainty and, most insidious of all, war on an inescapable, global scale.