Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

Stella Snead, Surrealist painter, photographer and collage artist, was born on this day in 1910. To celebrate her birthday, here are five fast facts about Snead!


Stella Snead. Advancing Monuments, 1946. Oil on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of Stella Snead, 2001.005.000

1. Snead had a bit of a late start

It wasn’t until Snead was in her mid-20s that she pursued a career as an artist. Before then, she had taken a few secretarial courses, but she was unable to hold a daily work schedule due to her mental illness. But she did become infatuated with art––specifically painting. Snead eventually studied with Amédée Ozenfant, a leading French abstract painter, at the Ozenfant Academy of Fine Art in London.

2. She decided to move to the United States

In 1939, when war broke out against Germany in World War II, Snead fled from the Europe to the United States. Throughout the next 10 years of her life, she moved back-and-forth between New York City and Taos, New Mexico.

3. Snead’s paintings look like something out of a dream

Snead created most of her works during the 1940s. Her paintings mainly feature dreamlike landscapes, filled with whimsical animals and fantastical human creatures.

4. She actually gave up painting

Around the 1950s, Snead abruptly stopped painting. She later said this was due to her depression ––which, at the time, was worsened by a bad breakup. While this took away her desire to paint, she found a new love of photography during this time period.

5. Snead became fascinated with India

Throughout the 1960s, Snead began taking long trips to India. There, she photographed nature, street life and Hindu sculptures. She ended up publishing eight books, which featured photos from her travels.

We house two of Snead’s works here at DOMA: “Tornado,” painted in 1946, and “Advancing Monuments,” also painted in 1946 and currently on display in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery.