She later employed an assistant to join the household, which he described as "a little bit of prison and a lot of theatre". One of his jobs was to look after her beloved Persian cats. Over the years she acquired 17 of them; they shared her bed and, at mealtimes, were allowed to roam the dining-table selecting tasty morsels - and woe betide the guest who complained. The 'inner circle' expanded to include the American artist, Richard Overstreet and the Argentinian poet Juan-Bautista Pinero. (P: Leonor Fini. Portrait of Stanislao Lepri)
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was raised in Trieste, Italy. She moved to Milan at the age of 17, and then to Paris, in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, among many others, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí. She traveled Europe by car with Mandiargues and Cartier-Bresson where she was photographed nude in a swimming pool by Cartier-Bresson. The photograph of Fini sold in 2007 for $305,000 - the highest price paid at auction for one of his works to that date.
Stanislao Lepri and Leonor Fini, 1945
Leonor Fini was a surrealist painter. She met Count Stanislao Lepri, who abandoned his diplomatic career shortly after meeting Fini and lived with her thereafter. She met the Polish writer Konstanty Jeleński, known as Kot in Paris right after the war. She was delighted to discover that he was the illegitimate half-brother of Sforzino Sforza, who had been one of her most favorite lovers. Kot joined Fini and Lepri in their Paris apartment in 1952 and they remained inseparable until their deaths.
Stanislao Lepri, Les Voyeurs, oil on panel, 1949. Provenance: Leonor Fini, Paris
Leonor Fini, La Leçon de Botanique (The Botany Lesson), oil on canvas, 1974
She painted portraits of Jean Genet, Anna Magnani, Jacques Audiberti, Alida Valli, Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer) and Suzanne Flon as well as many other celebrities and wealthy visitors to Paris. While working for Elsa Schiaparelli she designed the flacon for the perfume, "Shocking", which became the top selling perfume for the House of Schiaparelli. She designed costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, including the first ballet performed by Roland Petit's Ballet de Paris, "Les Demoiselles de la nuit", featuring a young Margot Fonteyn. This was a payment of gratitude for Fini's having been instrumental in finding the funding for the new ballet company. She also designed the costumes for two films, Renato Castellani's Romeo and Juliet (1954) and John Huston's A Walk with Love and Death (1968), which starred 18 year old Anjelica Huston and Moshe Dayan's son, Assaf.
She once said,
Marriage never appealed to me, I've never lived with one person. Since I was 18, I've always preferred to live in a sort of community - A big house with my atelier and cats and friends, one with a man who was rather a lover and another who was rather a friend. And it has always worked.In the 1970s, she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe. Her friends included Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, and Alberto Moravia, Fabrizio Clerci and most of the other artists and writers inhabiting or visiting Paris. She illustrated many works by the great authors and poets, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Shakespeare, as well as texts by new writers. She was very generous with her illustrations and donated many drawings to writers to help them get published. She is, perhaps, best known for her graphic illustrations for Histoire d'O.
It has been said about her that she is the only artist to paint women without apology. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females. The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of 'the double'. She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. She lived with many cats; up to a total of 23 at one time. The illness of one of her cats could send her into a deep depression.
A biographical song about Leonor Fini's life is featured on Welsh artist Katell Keineg's 1997 second album, Jet.
Konstanty Aleksander Jeleński (1922-1987) - Polish writer, essayist.
Konstanty Aleksander Jeleński (in French: Constantin Jelenski) was born January 2, 1922 in Warsaw, Poland and died May 4, 1987 in Paris, France. At the age of eighteen he left Poland to serve the Polish Army in France. He lived the remainder of his life as an émigré, first in Italy for several years after the Second World War, then settling in Paris in 1951.
In Paris, Jeleński was active in Polish émigré literary circles. He led the Eastern European division of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (after 1967, the International Association for Cultural Freedom) and was a prolific contributor to the Association's monthly publication Preuves and to Kultura, the Polish émigré literary journal. Beginning in 1975, he became increasingly active with the Institut national de l'audiovisuel.
Jeleński's criticism, translations and edited works addresses a wide range of literary, political and artistic topics, especially twentieth-century Polish literature and history. Among his most influential works are many critical essays about Witold Gombrowicz and the edited volume Anthologie de la poesie polonaise (1965).
Since 1952, Jeleński was in a relationship with Argentine painter Leonor Fini. Until his death they lived together and with Fini's other partner Italian painter Stanislao Lepri in Paris. Alleged biological father of Jeleński was Carlo Sforza.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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