To Study the Numbers


Leonora Carrington ( Mexican, born England, 1917 - 2011 )

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General Description

Although she is not known as a printmaker, Leonora Carrington used etchings such as this to explore the occult, drafting dreamlike landscapes filled with imaginary, often grotesque creatures. Here Carrington placed dogs’ heads onto a shared, circular body; their faces sneer and scowl, each tied by the neck or snout. One dog—possibly a self-portrait of the artist—kneels in pain, its muzzle bound to a tree extruding from his hindquarters in place of his tail. The cryptic clues left behind by the artist are both haphazard and mysterious. Selectively carved to appear upside down and mirrored in the printed impression, the inscription from which the piece is titled—“To Study the Numbers/Seventy Nine/The Dogs of the Sleeper”—sits squarely on the plate. This reference to numbers in conjunction with the incorrect mathematical calculation visible on the upper right of the scene results in a wholly perplexing print.

Excerpt from

Tower Gallery: Latin American Art, Label text, 2017.