1906 - 1988
Born in Shillong (IN).
Ithell Colquhoun was the daughter of a civil servant in India, but was soon returned to England. She studied at Cheltenham Art School (1925-7) and the Slade School of Art (1927-31). She contributed to the Surrealist London Bulletin and joined the movement in 1939, sharing an exhibition with Roland Penrose (Mayor Gallery, June 1939). Shortly after, she met the Surrealists' leader André Breton in Paris just as 'automatic' painting techniques were being modified by the 'psychological morphologies' of Matta and Gordon Onslow-Ford. Despite these parallels, Colquhoun broke with Surrealism in 1940 rather than sacrifice her interest in the occult. The break deepened with her marriage to Toni del Renzio in 1942, whose polemics split the British Surrealist group; they were acrimoniously divorced in 1947. Colquhoun moved to Cornwall in the late 1940s, where her interest in automatism and the esoteric became combined. She was an acknowledged authority on the occult, and her writing ranged from contributions to such periodicals as Prediction to Surrealist texts gathered as The Goose of Hermogenes (1961). She exhibited with the London Group and at the Leicester Galleries, and with the Women's International Art Club in the 1950s and 1960s. Renewed interest in British Surrealism led to a number of retrospectives in the 1970s. She died on 11 April 1988.
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I Saw Water
Ithell Colquhoun, I Saw Water, 2014. Book, ink, paper, 22.80 x 14.24 cm, 228 p, language: English, publisher: Penn State University Press, ISBN: 978-0-271-06423-9.
Goose of Hermogenes
Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes, 1961. Book, ink, paper, 19.8 x 12.9 cm, 115 p., language : English, publisher : Peter Owen Publishers, London, 2003, ISBN : 0-7206-1177-6.