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The International Surrealist Exhibition was held at the Burlington Galleries in the summer of 1936, and for a brief moment London was ‘the centre of the Surrealist universe’ (André Breton). Richards was not included in the exhibition, but it gave him an opportunity to study important works by Ernst, Picasso and Miro, among others. Subsequently a pronounced erotic sensibility became apparent in Richards’s own loosely surreal work.

Two representations of the female form are contrasted in this relief. On the right, virginal though budding and seductive, and on the left, fulsome and latently sexual.

September 2004