Paula Rego



The most international name in Portuguese painting, Paula Rego, died in London at 87. She grew up in a well-off family in Lisbon during the dictatorship of Salazar, a situation which prompted this restless young woman to leave the country in search of the more liberal atmosphere of the United Kingdom, where she would settle for good. In England she initially became acquainted with the informalist avant-garde of Neo-Dada, but soon felt attracted to the figurative painting of authors like Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Balthus, and Beatrix Potter, to end up entering the realist and pop orbit of the London Group, where she coincided with authors as akin but at the same as different as David Hockney and R. B. Kitaj. Legible in its naïf-like naturalism that has a lot to do with children’s illustrations and tales and fables, Rego’s painting is, however, unsettling, if not outrightly sinister, because it deals with issues like loneliness and violence – especially when affecting women – with an extraordinary figurative persuasion. Her oeuvre, developed mainly in Great Britain, was partially collected in the Casa das Histórias, the unique museum Souto de Moura built for her in Cascais in 2009.  

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