Paula Rego (Lisbon, 1935 - London, 2022) died in London on June 8. Rego has been one of the most original and acclaimed artists of our time. Over the course of seven decades, she reinvented figurative painting and the way women were represented. Rego sought new and different ways of telling stories with his images and works, which are rooted in his personal experience, at the same time linked to what is happening in the world.
Paula Rego was born in Lisbon (Portugal) in 1935, under the authoritarian dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar. Her parents, anti-fascists and Anglophiles, wanted her daughter to live in a liberal country, and at the age of sixteen she was enrolled in a girls' school in Kent, England. From there he studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1952–1956), where he had among his classmates Victor Willing, whom he married in 1959. Rego, Willing and their children went lived between England and Portugal before settling in London in 1972. She represented both countries at the São Paulo Biennial, Portugal in 1969 and Britain in 1985. In 1988 Willing died after a long illness. . In the same year, Rego's solo exhibitions at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Serralves Museum in Porto and the Serpentine Gallery in London consolidated his leading position in contemporary art. In 1990 she was named the first Associate Artist at the National Gallery in London.
She has been distinguished with numerous retrospective exhibitions, including Tate Liverpool in 1997, the Reina Sofia National Art Center Museum in Madrid in 2007, the Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in 2010– 2011 and the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris in 2018. In 2009, a museum dedicated to his works was inaugurated, the Casa das Històries Paula Rego in Cascais (Portugal). The 2017 Paula Rego documentary, Secrets and Stories, directed by her son Nick Willing, premiered in 2017. In 2022 she participated as one of the most important artists in the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale with the exhibition The Milk of Dreams in the central pavilion. Rego lived and worked in London until his death.