Paula Rego (January 26, 1935 – June 8, 2022) – De Groene Amsterdammer

A feral female doll that delights in devouring little baby dolls. There are few on her lap, some have already lost a limb, and they are sitting on the floor and more naked dolls lie. gluttony Or gluttony, Paula Rigo called her this work from 2019, and it can be seen in the main exhibition room of this year’s Venice Biennale, where she was the only artist to have her own room. On June 8, Rigo passed away after a short illness, she was 87 years old.

The fervor with which the art world has embraced the work of Paula Rego in recent years after I glanced at them for so long, with little bad intent, can be seen in The Monstrous Doll. But annoyance, shame, and restrained anger are constant in her work. Large Pastel Drawings and Paintings Hanging Around Doll in Venice: Pictures of Almost Theatrical Situations of One or More Persons, Mostly Women, in Uncomfortable Situations. In the adjacent cabinet is a selection of drawings drawn by Rego as illustrations for fairy tales and children’s songs.

The Kunstmuseum Den Haag presented the first major retrospective of Rego’s work in the Netherlands this spring, a miniature version of a critically acclaimed exhibition at London’s Tate Britain (which can now be seen in Malaga until August 21). He bought the Hague Museum after that the pillow From 2004. It’s a typical late Rego movie: it initially began as a representation of a story, in this case a play of the same name by Martin McDonagh. While she was working on it, she noticed that it was also a representation of as yet unnamed situations from her childhood in Estoril, on the Portuguese coast, during World War II.

Paula Rego was born in Portugal in 1932, the same year that Antonio de Oliveira Salazar became prime minister. Her father, like Rigo herself and her husband Victor, who later suffered from depression, was an anti-fascist and hostile to the Pope, Salazar and his regime. In a London gallery hung a picture of him drawn at the age of 22: a blurred portrait of a sad man, his head tilted in his hand.

Her mother was a successful painter. “She can draw everything,” said Riggo later. “But she did not encourage me. Sometimes I would sit behind her and draw too. Not to draw, but to be close to her. At the age of four, Rigo started drawing and drawing, but only when her father started reading to her did she also want to become an artist. She was able to escape from the bad world that She lived in it by drawing, and the stories will remain constant on the ground.

When she was sixteen, her father sent Paula to a boarding school in England, after which she entered an art school. She started dating Victor Welling, a promising painter. She eventually married him and had three children.

Stories will always be in her grasp

In preparation for the Dutch exhibition, the Kunstmuseum visited Rego’s studio in London last fall, with a few Dutch journalists. The artist himself was recovering from Corona infection at the time, and son Nick Welling received the visit in the double room in Chelsea. Half was intended for storing her drawings, some paintings and more than seven thousand prints. I hardly used the furnished bedroom, preferring to lie on the sofa in between, which is also notable in the series Property It can be seen.

With an allergy to oils, Rego turned to acrylic in the ’90s and specialized in working with soft pastels, brilliantly portraying velor and lace in costumes, and giving models’ skins a gorgeous glow. In the center of the room were dozens of crayons of all shades. Everywhere, in all shapes and sizes, cloth dolls, animals and trinkets, await the next additional role in Rego’s work.

Like many of her contemporaries, she did not want to call herself a feminist, as she walked her own way for years, traveling between Portugal and England, between family and art, in the shadow of her male colleagues. She was enraged by the subordination role of women in Portugal during Salazar’s reign.

In the documentary film made by son Nick about his mother in 2017, Paula Rego: secrets and stories, She spoke openly about her childhood and her parents for the first time.

Her mother described her as a “victim of the society in which she lives”. They encouraged women to do absolutely nothing. The less they did, the more they liked it. Women of a certain class mean. The less wealthy women did Everything is stained with blood.

In 1998, a referendum in Portugal on legalizing abortion failed due to lack of participation. Furious at the outcome, Rego made ten pastel drawings on the subject: oppressively uncomfortable scenes of women alone, with their pain, a towel and a bucket. She didn’t argue that she had multiple abortions herself, just like all the girls in art school. Because the story will be about her.

In her work, she was always looking for new stories to mix with her own experiences. The film about her life has become the most visited documentary ever in Portuguese cinema.

Leave a Comment