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Paula Rego

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Famous Portuguese People: Paula Rego

Paula Rego

Paula Rego

Paula Rego, is one of Portugal's most famous contemporary painters and printmakers known for her storybook imagery given a sinister and often sexual twist.

Paula Figueiroa Rego, was born into a wealthy Portuguese family in Lisbon during the time of Salazar's dictatorship. Paula began painting as a young child and attended the Slade School of art in London, where she met her future husband, Victor Willing, with whom she was to have three children.

Rego's first solo exhibition was held in Lisbon in 1965, but it would be years before her work reached a wider audience. During the 1950s and early 1960s Rego lived with her family in Ericeira, later dividing her time between England and Portugal before settling in England permanently in 1976.

Rego is a superb story-teller and her work can be described as feminist, allegorical and disturbing concerned with ambiguity and sexual tension.

Rego herself describes her painting as a "journey through the mind and through the complexity of life's experiences."

Rego has been a prolific painter over her career. Her most famous works include The Family (1988) a deliberately ambiguous work, which depicts a businessman being affectionately greeted by his wife and daughter or tortured by the same. The Dog Woman series of paintings of the 1990s depict women as dog-like figures on all fours or baying at the moon. The Maids (1987) is a reworking of Jean Genet's play, where two servants murder the lady of the house and her daughter.



Rego's painting of Germaine Greer hangs in the National Gallery in London and many of her works are on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon.

Further Reading on Paula Rego

Paula Rego at the Saatchi Gallery