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Hope academic releases new book celebrating Surrealist artist Lee Miller

A Liverpool Hope University academic is celebrating the launch of a new book which explores the life and career of pioneering artist, model and journalist, Lee Miller.

Dr Lynn Hilditch, who is Subject Lead for Fine Art and Design, has edited Lee Miller's Surrealist Eye: New Insights, a collection of essays which present the often overlooked Miller as one of the twentieth century’s most important and influential female Surrealist artists.

The book includes nine different chapters written by practitioners and academics, which guide readers through some of the key points in Miller’s colourful life.

The American-born artist, who died in 1977, has grown in popularity over the past 40 years, during which she has been increasingly championed by scholars and curators for her Surrealism-inspired photographs.

Having entered the world of photography as a model in New York, she went on to establish herself as a photographer in her own right after working with the acclaimed Man Ray in Paris and later became one of the few female correspondents covering the Second World War from the frontline.

She is best known for her captivating photos of Paris in the late 1920s and early 1930s, dreamlike portraits of desert landscapes and sexually suggestive architecture in Egypt in the mid-1930s, and her witty, yet often disturbing, photographs of the Second World War and its aftermath.

"Until the mid-80s, Miller was relatively unknown as an artist and only briefly mentioned in art books as a muse of Man Ray,” explained Dr Hilditch.

“The full extent of her oeuvre has only come to light during the past twenty years. This is mostly due to her struggle with severe depression, what would now be diagnosed as PTSD, after working as a war correspondent during the war.

“To protect his wife, Miller's husband, the Surrealist Roland Penrose, removed her work from view, putting it into boxes in the attic of their East Sussex home, Farley Farm. This is where it remained, hidden and forgotten about until after her death two decades later.

“This new anthology of essays offers new insights into the depth of Miller's career, exploring some of her lesser known works, and readdressing and revalidating Miller's position as an important Surrealist artist and not simply a Surrealist muse".

Dr Hilditch has published widely on Miller, with her research paying particular focus to the artist’s representations of women in war and her Surrealist interpretation of the London Blitz. She has also analysed Miller's photographs of Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps as modern memorials.

Since 2010, Dr Hilditch has written three journal articles and three book chapters on Miller and, in 2017, she penned Lee Miller, Photography, Surrealism and the Second World War: From Vogue to Dachau.

Her latest release - Lee Miller's Surrealist Eye: New Insightsis available to buy now from Cambridge Publishing Scholars.


Published on 14/12/2022