Muriel Streeter’s paintings often incorporated female figures wearing elaborate old -fashioned gowns in idyllic landscapes. Streeter studied painting and worked as a model before moving to New York in 1937. She was painted and photographed by Surrealist artists such as Dorothea Tanning, Man Ray, and Lee Miller.
In 1943, Streeter participated in the exhibition “31 Women” at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in New York. She became the second wife of the Surrealist art dealer Julien Levy, and both spent the summer in a house rented with artists, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst.
Her “The Chess Queens” 1944 is a double portrait of herself and Tanning. Streeter positioned the viewer at board level to be an active viewer in the game. This painting is a direct response to Max Ernst’s sculpture “The King Playing with the Queen” 1944. Streeter’s painting depicts black and white chess queens standing on a terrace with no king present. The queens stand against a landscape scattered with chess figures. Her painting proposes a narrative – one where Surrealist women artists sustained friendships. It was featured the same year in the exhibition “Imagery of Chess” at her husband’s gallery in New York.
Her work was shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 2012 “Wonderland,” a retrospective of American, European, and Mexican female Surrealist artists.