The Modern Women Artists series

The Modern Women Artists series of collectable books reveals an alternative history of art, telling the story of important female artists whose art might otherwise be overlooked, overshadowed or forgotten. Working across a range of disciplines and artistic styles in the first half of the twentieth century, all of the women included in this series were modern. Read together, these books begin to redress the untold history of modern art, connecting stories of female creativity which the history books have all too often left out.

A Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse: The Surreal world of Eileen Agar by Laura Smith

Eileen Agar was an artist who explored painting, photography, collage and sculpture. Her independent and inventive experiments with assemblage and colour linked her work inextricably with two major art movements of European twentieth century culture: Cubism and Surrealism.

Laura Smith introduces us to a spirited an lyrical artist who found inspiration in beach-finds, the natural world, mythology and classical ideas, and combined them into her own striking examples of modern art.

This is the sixth title in the Modern Women Artists series of collectable books, which together reveal an alternative history of art.


Laura Smith is Curator of Whitechapel Gallery where, among other exhibitions, she has worked on the first UK survey show of duo Elmgreen & Dragset (2018), a touring retrospective of Italian, Brazil-based artist Anna Maria Maiolino (2019), and with Helen Crammock, winner of the 2017-19 Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Prior to joining the Whitechapel, Laura was Curator at Tate from 2012-18, where she was responsible for a series of international historic and contemporary projects, as well as group exhibitions including the touring exhibition ‘Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings’ (2018) and the Turner Prize (2016).

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Harriet Olsen is the founder of Eiderdown Books. She established the independent publishing house specialising in books about women artists after more than a decade in museum publishing (and having lost count of the number of books she’d produced about male artists). Harriet is also Head of Publishing at Pallant House Gallery in Sussex.

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