©Giorgio von Arb

Medium

A “painter of stories” celebrated for her dark, complex paintings, prints, drawings, and collages, Paula Rego draws upon folk- and fairytales, literature, and her own biography to create politically charged, deeply unsettling tableaux. Her forceful compositions are imbued with cruelty—both subtle and overt—and permeated with a sense of unease and ambiguity. Foregrounding women and girls, and often using animals as stand-ins for humans, she depicts dysfunctional family relationships, political systems (like that of Portugal’s António de Oliveira Salazar), and social structures. Rego is fascinated by what she calls “the beautiful grotesque” in life and in art. As she describes: “It’s the divine, perhaps. […] I mean some other kind of divine, which connects very strongly to Portuguese folk tales and stories—the strength of them and, very often, the enormous cruelty involved. The cruelty is fascinating.”

High auction record
£1.1m, Sotheby's, 2015
Blue-chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
2021
Paula Rego: An Enduring JourneyCristea Roberts Gallery
On View: Works by Paula RegoMarlborough London
2018
Paula Rego: PrintsMarlborough New York
View all

Celestina's House, 2000-2001

Pastel on paper
78 7/10 × 94 1/2 in
200 × 240 cm
Location
London
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©Giorgio von Arb

Medium

A “painter of stories” celebrated for her dark, complex paintings, prints, drawings, and collages, Paula Rego draws upon folk- and fairytales, literature, and her own biography to create politically charged, deeply unsettling tableaux. Her forceful compositions are imbued with cruelty—both subtle and overt—and permeated with a sense of unease and ambiguity. Foregrounding women and girls, and often using animals as stand-ins for humans, she depicts dysfunctional family relationships, political systems (like that of Portugal’s António de Oliveira Salazar), and social structures. Rego is fascinated by what she calls “the beautiful grotesque” in life and in art. As she describes: “It’s the divine, perhaps. […] I mean some other kind of divine, which connects very strongly to Portuguese folk tales and stories—the strength of them and, very often, the enormous cruelty involved. The cruelty is fascinating.”

High auction record
£1.1m, Sotheby's, 2015
Blue-chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)
Other works by Paula Rego
Related works
Related artists