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Sir Roland Penrose

(1900—1984) artist, writer, and exhibition organizer


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(b London, 14 Oct. 1900; d Chiddingly, Sussex, 23 Apr. 1984).

British writer, exhibition organizer, and artist. As an artist he holds a distinguished place among British Surrealists (he produced collages and ‘objects’ as well as paintings), but he is remembered mainly for the missionary zeal with which he promoted Surrealism and contemporary art in general in England. He was one of the organizers of the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London, and he was closely involved with many leading artists, including Ernst, Miró, and above all Picasso, who became a lifelong friend. During the Second World War he was a camouflage instructor. In 1947 he was co-founder (with Herbert Read) and first chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. His books include Picasso: His Life and Work (1958; 3rd edn. 1981), regarded as a standard work on the artist. Penrose's second wife, whom he married in 1947, was the American photographer Lee Miller (1907–77), who had formerly been a pupil and favourite model of Man Ray.

Subjects: Art.


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