Paula Figueiroa Rego is active/lives in United Kingdom, Portugal. Paula Rego is known for children's story illustration, printmaking, painting.
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Biography from the Archives of askART
A writer, printmaker, collage artist and illustrator, Portuguese-born
Paula Rego, working in England, creates children's stories that are
"thin guises for pshycho-sexual intrigue and taboo, where magical
realism rules, where nothing is certain except the witchy powers of
feminism, and the underlying notion that nothing is as it seems."
(Saatchi) She says that many of these 'dark' tales spring from
the subconscious part of her brain and not from reality in her
life. Some of her works, based on reactions against Portuguese
politics when António Salazar was dictator from, 1932 to 1968 have
political implications. They express
her ongoing need to challenge the status quo, such as in 2000, when she
did a series to publish in Portugal on female isolation and
abandonment. This response from her was stirred by a referendum
that was being held on abortion.
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Her working methods include cut and paste collage and large-scale
pastels, many with animal subjects. She is a professional
draughtswoman and printmaker who uses her skills to convey her love of
story telling. Her lithographs, etchings, aquatints
and occasional dry points, which she took up seriously in 1987, also
reflect her interest in other people's writings such as familiar
Nursery Rhymes and stories such as Peter Pan and Jane Eyre. In 1994,
she did five prints for the Folio Society Nursery Rhymes including 'Rub
a Dub Dub' and 'Old Mother Hubbard'.
Paula Rego was raised in Portugal in an upper middle class family with
servants as her father was English and was an engineer. Many of
her tales told through her printmaking reference her childhood where
family members would tell her stories, often comical, which she
reinvents with words and pictures.
Living in Portugal, she attended an English school but experienced much
political tension because of rebellion of many of the citizens against
right-wing dictator, Salazar. She was
sent to St. Julian's School in Carcavelos, Portugal followed by a
finishing school in Kent, England. Then she attended the Slade
School of Art in London where her primary instructor was William
Coldstream. She married Victor Willing, a painter and the couple
lived in both Portugal and England until 1975, when they settled in
London. Walling died in 1988, having long been ill from multiple
schlerosis. Her model for many years was a
woman named Lila and the studio was relatively small, but over the
years as her illustrating became increasingly wide ranging, her studio
has come to resemble a costume shop and theatrical
In 2005, Paula Rego received the honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from Oxford University.
Saatchi Gallery, Professor Paul Coldwell
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