“Renate has remained a subterranean figure from Angers Underground to this day, both because of her geography and gender, as if her diverse talents and interests in film, costume design and literature made serious attention to her work as a painter impossible,” said Levai. “In a place like The Ranch, with its diverse stories,” he added, “it makes sense to present artists with this complexity.”
Born in Vienna in 1921, she studied painting at the Vienna Art Academy for Women. The Jewess Druks fled Austria with her husband, who was an American citizen, on the edge of the Nazi occupation in 1938. She came to Los Angeles in the 1940s, where she immersed herself in a mid-century art scene. A close friend of Anger and the writer Anaïs Nin, she hosted famous (and infamous) costume parties in Malibu, including one where she asked guests to come dressed up as her special madness – which inspired the “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome”.
“Your pictures are extraordinary, like a missing link between Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini,” says Lisa Janssen, who is working on a Druks biography. Carrington, a British surrealist who worked mainly in Mexico from the 1940s, was known for her fantastic characters, many of whom were inspired by mythology and folklore; Fini, born in Argentina and raised in Italy, created something groundbreaking Painting of powerful women and was part of “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism” in the Museum of Modern Art in 1936.
For their part, Druks “paints women with their animal familiar and pagan robes, still lifes of dim tables with magical objects, everything in deep, jeweled colors, full of hidden dream meanings,” said Janssen. “It should be in the canon of surrealist women. ”⠀