Published  31/08/2001

The Surrealist and the Photographer: Roland Penrose and Lee Miller

The Surrealist and the Photographer: Roland Penrose and Lee Miller
Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, through 9 September

This year, Edinburgh has again proved itself as a leading centre of surrealist art. Under the former Keeper, Douglas Hall, a tradition was developed which has flourished significantly under his successor, Richard Calvacoressi. The Dean Gallery now includes the Gabriel Keiller Collection (incorporating both literature and artworks) with its permanent display. This exhibition now enhances that tradition.

Sir Roland Penrose, as he subsequently was to be honoured, spent his life escaping from the manacles of an East Anglian, Quaker, upbringing. Lee Miller married him in l947, transforming his psyche and self-confidence into a truly surreal realisation. Perhaps we should wait on, to see the film of her (and his) life that Nicole Kidman will undoubtedly get to make. It is the brilliant, forceful photojournalist jeep driver who covered the advance of the American Sixth Army into the last year of war (and Paris) who married the privileged, reticent intellectual, who will reveal all. Surely, she will be played by Kidman in the movie. But who will play the self-effacing Penrose? Olivier, Richardson and Gielgud are all gone. Could it be Dennis Hopper?

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