Paula Rego

Margaret and David by Paula Rego (2003)

Dates: b.1935

Gender: Female

Nationality: Portuguese

Paula Rego grew up in Portugal during the Salazar regime; the only child of an engineer father and painter mother. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis at age three, the family moved to the seaside for her health. As an only child she was doted on by her parents who exposed her to a myriad of influences ranging from Disney and Bunuel; to Goya and traditional Portuguese fairy and folktales. Read more…

Featured artworks by this artist:

St Margaret

St Margaret

Artist: Paula Rego, 2002

Location: Durham Cathedral

Biography:

Paula Rego grew up in Portugal during the Salazar regime; the only child of an engineer father and painter mother. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis at age three, the family moved to the seaside for her health. As an only child she was doted on by her parents who exposed her to a myriad of influences ranging from Disney and Bunuel; to Goya and traditional Portuguese fairy and folktales. As with most only children she was often alone with only her imagination to keep her company. It was this childhood foundation of cultural exposure and time spent alone drawing on the floor that would shape her work lifelong. Her father’s strong opposition to Salazar led him to send Paula Rego to the United Kingdom for her education. She attended secondary school in Kent and went on to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Rego’s work is known as much for its subject matter as for its style. Her childhood has never left her imagination. Her works synthesize her childhood experiences and influences. Imagery from fairytales and animals taking on human roles convey political views in a manner both fantastical and unsettling. Tate director Nicholas Serota describes Rego as having ‘taken her own childhood experiences, memories, fantasies and fears, and given them universal significance’. Paula Rego was short listed for the Turner Prize in 1989. In 1990 she became the first associate artist, National Gallery, London. She has had retrospectives at the National Gallery, Serpentine and the Tate.  

Official website: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/paula_rego

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