Mary Wykeham

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Original and idealistic, Mary Wykeham (1909-1996), to date neglected in the histories of surrealism, is brought centre stage in this study of her remarkable pursuit of art - a creative impulse that witnessed her crossing Europe and finding success as a painter before embarking on a long struggle to reconcile her commitment to art with a religious calling. Detailing Mary Wykeham's biography, analysing her work, and sketching the development of her political and religious thought, Silvano Levy's meticulous research reveals a surrealist oeuvre that is both innovative and poignant. A period of interest in Taoist spirituality resulted in mesmerising and unfathomable works. In a sudden move that shocked the artist's avant-garde circle, Mary became a nun and was forced by her superiors to give up her art.