The Major Arcana of the Tarot refers to the 22 cards in a standard 78-card deck. These 22 cards hold special occult and divinatory meaning developed over time beginning in the 18th century, with each Major Arcanum featuring symbolic elements and a number (from 0 to 21). Aside from its use in fortune-telling, the Major Arcana represents a path toward spiritual evolution, borrowing elements from a number of esoteric traditions including astrology, alchemy, Freemasonry, the Kabbalah and 19th-century occult organizations such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. While different Tarot decks vary artistically and aesthetically, much of the symbolism remains consistent. Major Arcana is the deck of Tarot cards created by Leonora Carrington featuring her illustrations of the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. The deck was made by Carrington as part of her private practice and until recently had remained unpublished and privately owned. The accompanying book, The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, presents extensive research on the artist’s life and practice, revealing the deck as a reflection of Carrington’s visionary hopes for a new world order and a more equitable future.
Published by RM. Text by Tere Arcq, Susan Aberth, Harold Gabriel Weisz Carrington.
The British-born Mexican surrealist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) spent a lifetime exploring the esoteric traditions of diverse cultures, and incorporated their ideas and symbols into her artistic and literary oeuvre. Tibetan Buddhism, the Kabbalah, ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian magic, Celtic mythology, witchcraft, astrology and the Tarot were filtered through her feminist lens to create a visionary, woman-centered worldview. Carrington created a spectacular Major Arcana Tarot deck sometime during the 1950s, laying gold and silver leaf over brilliant color. Exhibited for the first time during her centennial exhibition Leonora Carrington: Magical Tales in 2018, this extraordinary work was a revelation for the public and inspired the publication of The Tarot of Leonora Carrington. This second, considerably expanded edition—encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reception of Fulgur’s publication in 2020—explores further the central position that the Tarot held in Carrington’s work. The volume includes an introductory text by her son Gabriel Weisz Carrington, who recalls his mother’s long involvement with the Tarot, followed by a revised and more extensive essay by scholar Susan Aberth and curator Tere Arcq, including detailed analysis of each card: their color symbolism, their relationship to other works and their iconographic origins in ancient esoteric beliefs, including the Mesoamerican influences of her adopted country. This new edition also reproduces previously unpublished photographs and images, as well as exciting new research into Carrington's influences, emphasizing the authors' claim that her work on the Major Arcana represents an esoteric roadmap to Carrington's feminist vision and wish for a new global gender equality toward a better ecological future for our planet.
Published by FULGUR PRESS. Introduction by Gabriel Weisz Carrington. Text by Susan Aberth, Tere Arcq.
The British-born artist Leonora Carrington is one of the more fascinating figures to emerge from the Surrealist movement. As both a writer and painter, she was championed early by André Breton and joined the exiled Surrealists in New York, before settling in Mexico in 1943. The magical themes of Carrington’s otherworldly paintings are well known, but the recent discovery of a suite of tarot designs she created for the Major Arcana was a revelation for scholars and fans of Carrington alike. Drawing inspiration from the Tarot of Marseille and the popular Waite-Smith deck, Carrington brings her own approach and style to this timeless subject, creating a series of iconic images. Executed on thick board, brightly colored and squarish in format, Carrington’s Major Arcana shines with gold and silver leaf, exploring tarot themes through what Gabriel Weisz Carrington describes as a “surrealist object.” This tantalizing discovery, made by the curator Tere Arcq and scholar Susan Aberth, has placed greater emphasis upon the role of the tarot in Carrington’s creative life and has led to fresh research in this area.
The Tarot of Leonora Carrington is the first book dedicated to this important aspect of the artist’s work. It includes a full-size facsimile of her newly discovered Major Arcana; an introduction from her son, Gabriel Weisz Carrington; and a richly illustrated essay from Tere Arcq and Susan Aberth that offers new insights—exploring the significance of tarot imagery within Carrington’s wider work, her many inspirations and mysterious occult sources.
Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) was born in Lancashire, England. In 1936, she saw Max Ernst’s work at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London, and met the artist the following year. They became a couple almost immediately. When the outbreak of World War II separated them, Carrington fled to Spain, then Lisbon, where she married Renato Leduc, a Mexican diplomat, and escaped to Mexico, where she became close with Remedios Varo and other expat Surrealists.
Published by Irish Museum of Modern Art/D.A.P.. Edited and with introduction by Seán Kissane. Foreword by Sarah Glennie. Text by Dawn Ades, Teresa Arcq, Giulia Ingarao, Alyce Mahon, Gabriel Weisz. Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Leonora Carrington developed an iconography of myth, occultism and alchemy that has resonated strongly with younger artists over the past decade and a half. Incredibly gifted as a technician, Carrington was also possessed of a wild imagination, which she realized with great precision in her canvases. Her leading role as a Surrealist in Paris immediately prior to the war, and her life in Mexico City alongside fellow Surrealist expats Remedios Varo, Kati Horna and Edward James, have been the subject of increased interest and scholarly research. This is the first overview of her work to be published since her death in 2011 at the age of 94. Beautifully produced, with a faux-leather binding, a die-cut cover with foil stamping and 138 color plates (including two gatefolds), this volume looks at the many influences on Carrington’s many lives. It explores the Celtic imagery that enchanted her as a child, and the Mexican myths, imagery and stories that informed the second half of her career. Metamorphosis and transformation is an ongoing theme in Carrington’s hybrid world, populated with disconcerting hybrid creatures, elongated women and people metamorphosing into birds. This theme also emerges on a more intimate level in her self-portraits and portraits of friends and family. Writing was of equal importance as painting for Carrington, and this volume is supplemented with excerpts from unpublished manuscripts. Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) was born in Lancashire, England. In 1936, she saw Max Ernst’s work at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London, and met the artist at a party the following year. They became a couple almost immediately; when the outbreak of the Second World War separated them, Carrington was devastated, and fled to Spain, then Lisbon, where she married Renato Leduc, a Mexican diplomat, and escaped to Mexico, where she eventually established herself as one of the country’s most beloved artists.