Bridget Bate Tichenor

France, 1917


Bridget Bate Tichenor was born on November 22, 1917. Also known as Bridget Tichenor or B.B.T., she was a Mexican surrealist painter of fantastic art in the school of magic realism. Born in Paris and of British descent, she later embraced Mexico as her home. Tichenor attended schools in France, Italy, and England. She was a student at the Arts Students League of New York and studying under Reginald Marsh along with her friends, the painters Paul Cadmus and George Tooker. Acquaintances have described Tichenor during this time as "striking", "glamorous", and a "long-stemmed beauty with large azure eyes and sumptuous black hair". Mesoamerican cultures and her international background would influence the style and themes of Tichenor's work as a magic realist painter in Mexico. She was among a group of surrealist and magic realist female artists who came to live in Mexico in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Her introduction to Mexico, along with painter and novelist Leonora Carrington, was through her friend and cousin Edward James, the British surrealist art collector and sponsor of the magazine Minotaure that was published in Paris. In 1958, Tichenor participated in the First Salon of Women's Art at the Galerías Excelsior of Mexico, together with Carrington, Rahon, Varo, and other contemporary women painters of her era. That same year, she purchased the Contembo ranch near the remote village of Ario de Rosales, Michoacán where she painted reclusively with her extensive menagerie of pets until the mid 1980s. Tichenor counted painters Carrington, Alan Glass, and artist Pedro Friedeberg among her closest friends and artistic contemporaries in Mexico. Interest in Tichenor's paintings by art collectors and museums has been increasing in recent years, as well as collections of art photographs with Tichenor as the subject. Two paintings by Tichenor were auctioned by Christie’s New York in July, 2007; oil on canvas titled Domadora de quimeras, featuring the face of María Félix with details by painter Antoine Tzapoff, and Caja de crystal, both sold for much more than their estimated prices. In 2008, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey held an exhibition of Tichenor’s work, including her paintings among 50 prominent Mexican artists such as Frida Kahlo. It was titled History of Women: Twentieth-Century Artists in Mexico. The exhibition centered on women who had developed their artistic activities within individual and diverse disciplines while working in Mexico. Tichenor died in 1990 in Mexico City.

Artworks by Bridget Bate Tichenor