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Installation view of Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2018. Photo: Lewis Ronald
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Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain

22 Jun - 07 Oct 2018

Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain was the first exhibition to explore Miller’s involvement with the surrealist circles in Britain in the late 1930s.

This exhibition told the story of Surrealism in Britain and shone a light on the little known, but exciting, cultural moment, through Miller’s lens.

The show focused on the creative collaborations with the artists Miller knew, photographed, and exhibited alongside, during a time when Britain was recognised as a ‘Surrealist centre’.

Sculptures, paintings, photographs, collages and works on paper by artists Eileen Agar, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Henry Moore also featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition also highlighted Miller and her later-husband, Roland Penrose’s attempts to bring together Surrealist artists, including the 1936 International Surrealism Exhibition in London and the 1937 ‘Surrealist Invasion’ of Cornwall, where artists such as Nusch Éluard, Leonora Carrington and ELT Mesens came together to share a creative retreat, which Miller and Man Ray documented through photography.

Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain was timed to sit alongside our exhibition Viviane Sassen: Hot Mirror. 

This exhibition was organised by The Hepworth Wakefield in association with the Fundació Joan Miró. An expanded version of the exhibition was presented in Barcelona from 31 October 2018 to 20 January 2019 sponsored by the BBVA Foundatión.

Lee Miller (1907 – 1977)

Lee Miller was one of the most original photographic artists of the 20th century, whose work spanned the fields of fashion, photojournalism and art.

Arriving in Paris in 1929, Miller quickly became Man Ray’s apprentice, muse and collaborator, becoming part of the Surrealist network.

During World War II, Miller was employed by British Vogue  as a freelance war correspondent, capturing thought-provoking images of Hitler’s secret apartments and the harrowing atrocities of wartime living with her particular surrealist eye.

After the war, Miller settled with husband Roland Penrose at ‘Farleys’ on Farley Farm in Sussex, continuing her practice as a photographer.

Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain Timeline

To coincide with the exhibition Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain, this timeline traces the story of Lee Miller’s involvement with the surrealist circles and how Britain, for a brief but intense time in the late 1930s, became a Surrealist centre. London was the destination for many artists as they left increasingly troubling political situations on the continent and Miller – along with her later-husband Roland Penrose – played a significant role in bringing them together.


Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain catalogue


Published to accompany the major exhibition Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain at The Hepworth Wakefield (22 June to 7 October 2018), this is the first book to consider the photography of Lee Miller in relation to the British Surrealists and alongside artworks by noted European Surrealists such as Max Ernst and E.L.T Mesens.

Limited edition Lee Miller tableware

Items individually priced

The Hepworth Wakefield has collaborated with British designer Melody Rose and the Lee Miller Archives on a range of tableware featuring the photograph Bathing Feature from a Vogue fashion shoot, shot by Lee Miller in 1941.

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