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All About Portugal | January 18, 2021

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Paula Rego, an outstanding artist

Paula Rego
Clara Campos

Paula Rego is an amazing painter internationally famed. Portugal honored her with the opening of Casa das Histórias, a museum devoted to her

Paula Rego was born in Lisbon on 26 January 1935. Raised in a liberal family, the painter studied at St. Julian’s School, spending her adolescence in Estoril. Following the advice of her father, in the 1950s Paula Rego went abroad to pursue her career away from the dictatorial regime of Salazar then established in Portugal.

She start attending classes at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London, where she met her future husband Victor Willing, a painter and art critic, with whom she have three children after the marriage in 1959.

Her husband played an important role on the Rego’s career for his critics revealed some fundamental interpretations of her work. Besides, he is referenced in many of Paula Rego’s works, especially those from the mid-1980s, during the final stage of his multiple sclerosis, the disease that end up leading to his death.

Throughout the 1960s Paula Rego divided her live between Portugal and London, where she permanently settled in 1976. Nevertheless she visited Portugal frequently, returning mostly to Ericeira, to her family home. This house is a common feature of her work as it is linked to a certain Portuguese culture she associates with her childhood and likes to depict in her paintings.

Another link to Portugal is Paula Rego’s favorite model since 1988, Lila Nunes, the former nurse of her husband, who is of Portuguese background.

Paula Rego’s work was recognized since an early stage of her career. However she was acknowledge as one of the greatest world contemporary painters after the 1990s, being invited to produce work for galleries and exhibitions as well as to held exhibitions at top international museums and galleries. In 1990 she was appointed the first Associated Artist of the National Gallery in London and on 18 September 2009 is opened Casa das Historias in Cascais, a Museum devoted to the artist.

Paula Rego interview


  1. Rachel

    I just love her work.

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