In the summer of 1938 together with the artist Roland Penrose she travelled through Romania by road in Miller’s large American Packard car. Their journey began in Athens, and led to Bucharest where they met the noted musician and anthropologist Hari Brauner and his partner Lena Constante, a puppeteer and stage designer. Driven by her surrealist passion, Lee Miller was fascinated by the wonderful rituals of Romania capturing through her lenses customs such as Calușarii, Paparuda or Caloian. The exhibition includes rarely seen and un-shown photographs of 1930s Romania, a record of the last moments of an innocent world.
After ’46 Lee Miller went back, determined to find out if her friends had survived the war. Her images subtly reflect the turbulence of the post-war years and capture the nation poised for major political and social change.
Beautifully illustrated, Lee Miller’s images reflect the scars of irreparable damage, a world of hardship and unremitting toil, but also of great beauty and uniquely strong cultural values to be found today woven into the fabric of Romania.
ABOUT LEE MILLER
In 1927 Lee Miller was accidentally discovered in New Yorkby Condé Nast, the owner of Vogue magazine. Her portrait immediately appeared on the front cover of Vogue and Edward Steichen’s photographs gave her super-model status. She learned photography in Paris from Man Ray, the American Surrealist artist and leader of Avant Garde photography. She was his lover, assistant and favourite model and became a photographer in her own right. It was surrealism and its underlying principles of peace, freedom and justice that defined the rest of her life.
This exhibition is curated by Dr Adrian-Silvan Ionescu, Director of the Institute of Art History in Bucharest, with the collaboration of John Sorensen, executive director of The Enescu Project, New York .
Special thanks to Ioana Popescu, of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, and Paula Popoiu of Muzeul Naţional Al Satului Dimitri Gusti for their assistance in identifying the locations and events shown in Lee Miller’s images.