Dame Paula Rego dies at 87: tributes paid to an “important and irreverent” artist | Ents & Arts News

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Famous Luso-British artist Dame Paula Rego has died at the age of 87, the Victoria Miro art gallery has announced.

The gallery, which has offices in London and Venice, said the artist died at her home in north London on Wednesday morning, surrounded by her family.

“Portuguese culture has lost one of its most important and irreverent creators, someone who distinguished himself as a woman, human being and artist,” said Carlos Carreiras, mayor of the city of Cascais. , which houses a museum dedicated to his work.

Dame Paula’s career in the art world spanned over five decades and she was known for her magical images based on her childhood memories and fairy tales. As an artist, she challenged gender stereotypes and spoke out against abuses of power.

His works sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds and were in collections owned by famous names such as Charles Saatchi and Madonna.

Born in 1935 in Lisbon, Portugal, young Paula was sent as a teenager to an English graduation school by her anti-fascist father, who did not want to see his daughter confined to the country’s restrictive environment under the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. . .

She quickly learned to express her concern about the world around her through art, painting The Interrogation – a harrowing depiction of torture – when she was just 15. When her talent was spotted, she went on to study at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London.

Visitor looks at paintings by Portuguese artist Paula Rego at the artist's new gallery Casa das Historias (Stories House) in Cascais September 18, 2009. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro (PORTUGUESE SOCIETY)
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A visitor looks at some paintings by Portuguese artist Paula Rego during the opening of an exhibition which brings together some 200 works by Rego at the Reina Sofia Art Museum in Madrid in Spain

She first became known in Portugal with semi-abstract works dealing with violent or political subjects.

Her later plays draw on folk stories from her native land and popular children’s tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, but she also uses her own experiences, real and imagined, from her upbringing filled with young girls, maids and grandmothers, but with violent sex or subtext.

His paintings gave the central role to women, who were generally portrayed as strong and confident – ​​while his men often looked childish or even drunk.

“I paint the women I know. I paint what I see. I make women the protagonists because I am one,” Dame Paula told The Guardian in a 2021 interview.

She has described herself as a feminist artist and topics such as sex trafficking and honor killings have also inspired her work.

In 1998, in response to a failed referendum to legalize abortion in Portugal and having had several abortions herself, she produced a powerful series of paintings on the dangers of keeping the procedure illegal.

Among his works are his pastel drawings Dog Woman, which depicts women in a series of canine poses, and his 1995 portrait of Germaine Greer which was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Paula Rego pictured in her London studio in 2009

She was made a Dame Commander by the Queen in 2010 at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace and received honorary doctorates from universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

She was also the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, which features her murals as permanent decoration.

She married British painter Victor Willing after meeting him at the Slade School of Fine Art, and he remained her husband until his death in 1988.

The couple lived in Portugal for seven years until in 1976, two years after the end of the dictatorship, they settled permanently in London with their three children.

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