Surrealist Lee Miller

Once again shining a light on a ground-breaking woman artist, Heide will present a major survey of the compelling work of American-born photographer Lee Miller. A surrealist before she even knew of the movement, Lee Miller was one of the most original photographic artists of the twentieth century. Defying the expectations placed on her as a woman and an artist, she was as unconventional in her life as in her work and captured the intensity of her experiences in unforgettable images.

The exhibition has been curated by Miller’s son, Antony Penrose, and includes 100 photographs from across the artist’s remarkable career. Surrealist Lee Miller spans her early portrait, fashion and art photography in Paris and New York in the 1920s and 30s, landscape and architecture, her coverage of the horrors of the Second World War, and her extraordinary creative circle—which included Man Ray, Picasso, Max Ernst, Dora Maar and many others. It reveals Miller’s innate surrealist eye and deep involvement in the world around her.

Described by her close friend and LIFE photographer, David E. Scherman, as ‘caustically brilliant, yet totally loyal, unpretentious, human and intolerant of sham’, Miller was married to artist, art historian, poet and collector Roland Penrose. They settled at Farley Farm in Sussex, where much like John and Sunday Reed at Heide, the couple played host to a wide circle of artists and writers. It is fitting that Miller’s work will be on display at Heide, where the parallels with the lives of the Reeds and the artists they nurtured are so evident.

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