Primarily working as an abstract painter, Jacqueline Lamba also created collages, sculptures, and surrealist objects during her lengthy career. Lamba met and married Andre Breton in 1934, and their relationship became the subject of Breton’s “L’amour fou (Mad Love)” in 1937.
From 1935 to 1947 Lamba exhibited in surrealist exhibitions in London, Tenerife, Tokyo, and Paris. In 1938, Lamba and Breton visited Mexico, where they stayed with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and met with Leon Trotsky. In 1941, the Nazi invasion of France led the couple into exile in New York.
Shortly after January 1943, Lamba, now separated from Breton and living with David Hare, an American sculptor and editor of a surrealist journal whom she would marry in 1946, accepted Kahlo’s invitation to return to Mexico. During her stay she visited Erongaricuaro, where she painted “Behind the Sun,” 1943, a magnificent oil that seems inspired in its technique by the folk art of Santa Clara del Cobre. Here Lamba embarked on a period of transformation in her art, that she articulated a year later in a manifesto, written for the catalogue of her first solo exhibition in New York in 1944. In that same year Lamba and Hare traveled across the United States for their joint exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of art and spent time in the Southwest studying American Indian cultures. Lamba returned permanently to France in 1954.
In 1943, Lamba was included in Peggy Guggenheim’s “Exhibition by 31 Women” in her gallery in New York. She was also one of the female artists included in Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 2012 exhibition: “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States.”