Self-Portrait, ca. 1937-38. Leonora Carrington. Oil on canvas. The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002. © 2019 Estate of Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Sporting white jodhpurs and a wild mane of hair, Carrington is perched on the edge of a chair in this curious, dreamlike scene, with her hand outstretched toward the prancing hyena and her back to the tailless rocking horse flying behind her. The daughter of an English industrialist, Carrington spent her childhood on a country estate surrounded by animals and reading fairy tales and legends. She revisited these memories in her adulthood, creating paintings populated with real and imagined creatures. Here, the white horse, which Carrington used as her symbolic surrogate, gallops freely into the verdant landscape beyond the curtained window.