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Phantoms of Surrealism, Whitechapel Gallery

May 19, 2021 - December 12, 2021

Whitechapel Gallery Phantoms of Surrealism

From May the Whitechapel Gallery in London will present a new archive exhibition, Phantoms of Surrealism that collates artworks, photographic scrapbooks and correspondence from the London International Surrealist Exhibition that was held in 1936.

The exhibition coincides with Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy, which reveals the role of women in the British Surrealist movement as artists and organisers, editors and animators.

Artists exhibited in Phantoms of Surrealism

The exhibition features 11 artists: Ruth Adams, Eileen Agar, Elizabeth Andrews, Diana Brinton Lee, Claude Cahun, Ithell Colquhoun, Sheila Legge, Grace Pailthorpe, Elizabeth Raikes, Edith Rimmington and Stella Snead.

The exhibition will also feature works of art from an anti-war exhibition staged at Whitechapel Gallery in 1939 by The Artists’ International Association.

Works will include two sculptures, Swan by Elizabeth Andrews and Woman by Elizabeth Raikes, as well as Water Flower, a painting by Ithell Colquhoun.

Elizabeth Andrews Swan ©The Artist's Estate, Towner Eastbourne
Elizabeth Andrews: Swan ©The Artist’s Estate, Towner Eastbourne

The exhibition throws light on the importance of lesser-known figures, including Stella Snead and Diana Brinton Lee who were key strategists in the movement. Where many women artists might once have been acknowledged as mere ‘actors’ in other renowned artists’ work, Phantoms of Surrealism goves them a starring role.

Curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki and Cameron Foote, Phantoms of Surrealism, places women firmly at the centre of the key movement.

London Surrealist Exhibition

Max Ernst Poster for International Surrealist Exhibition, Burlington Galleries, London 1936 Colour Lithograph 76.2 x 50.8 cm The Murray Family Collection, UK & USA
Max Ernst Poster for International Surrealist Exhibition, 1936. The Murray Family Collection.

The London Surrealist Exhibition was held at London’s New Burlington Galleries from 11 June to 4 July 1936. The Artists International Association exhibition followed at Whitechapel Gallery, from 9 February to 7 March 1939.

When is Phantoms of Surrealism?

Phantoms of Surrealism runs from 19 May to 12 December 2021.

Angel of Anarchy

The exhibition coincides with Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy (19 May – 29 August 2021), which includes a fully-illustrated publication.

Phantoms of Surrealism Grace Pailthorpe: Crustacean Caress 1935. The Murray Family Collection.
Grace Pailthorpe: Crustacean Caress, 1935. The Murray Family Collection.

Whitechapel Gallery

Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm; First Thursdays, 11am to 9pm.

Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London.

T:+ 44 (0) 20 7522 7888

E: [email protected]


Main image: Sheila Legge as Surrealist ‘Phantom’, Trafalgar Square, London, 11 June 1936. Photograph attributed to Claude Cahun. Courtesy Jersey Heritage Collections.



May 19, 2021
December 12, 2021
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Whitechapel Gallery
77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street
London,Select a State or Province:E1 7QXUnited Kingdom
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