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Artists Paula Rego

Paula Rego

Portuguese-British Painter, Illustrator and Printmaker

Paula Rego Photo
Movements and Styles: Surrealism, School of London, Feminist Art

Born: January 26, 1935 - Lisbon, Portugal

"The Portuguese have a culture that lends itself to the most grotesque stories you can imagine."


In Paula Rego's impressive oeuvre the contradictions of humanity are fully exposed; fantasy and reality, strength and suppression, and the personal and the political all writhe together in circling dialogue. She depicts the human figure predominately from life and thus allows her sitters to "flood you with their personality". Often groups of figures interact within Rego's pictures - usually made in pastel rather than paint - as a story with multiple strands mysteriously unfolds. Viewers do not really know what is happening, the action can be baffling, but there is always the sense that however unsettling, complex, and typically sexually charged, that like it or not, we all recognise the emotions at play. Similar to fellow portraitists of The London Group, and also to Alice Neel, Rego extracts individual psychology and dissects it. Her inclusion of props and animals however make her work more surreal, and her love of fabric and clothes as well as certain poses, look back to the classicism of Old Masters.

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