The Surrealism Website
Stella Snead (1910 - 2006)




Stella Snead was born in London to wealthy parents. Her father sadly was mentally unstable and this lead to her mother taking her young daughter and leaving her husband. Stella was given a good education and in 1936 became engaged by art and studied at the Academy of Fine Art in London, run by Amédée Ozenfant, alongside fellow student Leonora Carrington. At the outbreak of war she moved to New York where she reconnected with Carrington and found her way into the exiled surrealist community there. She travelled across the USA and spent some time in Mexico. In the 1940s she discovered her style and produced a number of surrealist paintings. She had eleven solo exhibitions during this period.
In 1949 she had some kind of crisis and seemed to lose confidence in her painting, and instead turned to photography as a medium. She produced a great number of photographs, some manipulated using collage, and throughout the 60s and 70s provided these as illustrations for a number of books.
In 1987 she decided to return to painting, and she made new versions of the works she had made in the 1940s. She had kept photographs of some of her earlier pieces which she used to create these variations on the originals. She was by then entirely forgotten and unknown to the art world. In 1997, when she was 85, she attended a Leonora Fini retrospective at a New York gallery and took the opportunity to introduce herself to the gallery owner Neil Zukerman, who was so impressed by her work that he arranged an exhibition of her paintings in 1999.