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Paula Rego (1935 - )

Related: Ron Mueck - contemporary art - Portugal

Dog Woman series by Paula Rego

"To be a dog woman is not necessarily to be downtrodden; that has very little to do with it. In these pictures every woman's a dog woman, not downtrodden, but powerful. To be bestial is good. It's physical. Eating, snarling, all activities to do with sensation are positive. To picture a woman as a dog is utterly believable." -- Paula Rego via http://library.thinkquest.org/17016/dog.htm [May 2005]


Paula Rego (born 1935) is a Portuguese painter, illustrator and printmaker.

Born in Lisbon, Rego was sent to finishing school in Sevenoaks in England. She left to the Slade School of Art where she met the artist Victor Willing, whom she eventually married. The two divided their time between Portugal and England until 1975, when they moved to England. Willing later died after suffering for some years from multiple sclerosis.

Rego has stated that illustrative art (such as that in the Beatrix Potter books) and fairy tales were important early influences. Her work sometimes includes imagery from fairy tales with a sinister edge. Early pieces sometimes use collaged elements taken from Rego's own drawings, with later works often being in vinyl paint on paper.

Rego's style is often compared to cartoon illustration. As in cartoons, animals are often depicted in human roles and situations. Later work adopts a more realistic style, but sometimes keeps the animal references - the Dog Woman series of the 1990s, for example, is a set of pastel pictures depicting women in a variety of dog-like poses (on all fours, baying at the moon, and so on).

Rego has also painted a portrait of Germaine Greer, which is in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Rego was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Rego [Apr 2005]

Paula Rego: The Complete Graphic Work - T. G. Rosenthal, Paula Rego [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

About the Author
T. G. Rosenthal is the former art critic of The Listener and of The New Statesman. Among his books are The Art of Jack B. Yeats and Sidney Nolan.

Paula Rego, one of today's leading figurative artists, was born in Portugal and studied at the Slade School of Art in London from 1952 to 1956. She took up permanent residence in England in 1976 but has never severed her Portuguese roots.

This is the first monograph to deal exclusively with Rego's graphic work: over two hundred etchings, aqua-tints, and lithographs from 1954 and her student days to the Jane Eyre series in 2002, including several that were never editioned but only proofed. For many painters, etching and lithography are merely an adjunct to their art, and the graphic images are simply copies of their paintings in another medium. Rego is unique among highly acclaimed contemporary artists in that her graphic works are mostly original in theme as well as execution, and she makes use of this different medium to project the disturbing and subversive power seen in her paintings.

The text, written by Rego's friend the art critic T. G. Rosenthal, provides the background to each series and analyzes each work. It quotes extensively from the artist's own commentaries and conversations with the author, which provides intriguing insights into the art. A fully illustrated catalogue raisonné, a description of Rego's techniques by Paul Coldwell, a comprehensive list of exhibitions, and a bibliography make this an essential survey of a major aspect of Rego's work. 445 illustrations in color and duotone.--Product Description:

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