Since the 1950s, Paula Rego has played a key role in redefining figurative art in the UK and internationally. An uncompromising artist of extraordinary imaginative power, she has revolutionised the way in which women are represented. This stunning voulme tells the story of Rego’s extraordinary life, highlighting the personal nature of much of her work and the socio-political context in which it is rooted. It also reveals the artist’s broad range of references, from comic strips to history painting.
Featuring over 100 illustrations, including collage, paintings, largescale pastels, ink and pencil drawings, etchings and sculpture, including including early work from the 1950s in which Rego first explored personal as well as social struggle, her large pastels of single figures from the acclaimed Dog Women and Abortion series and her richly layered, staged scenes from the 2000-10s. The range of texts reflects the themes explored in the exhibition, relating to the artist’s childhood memories and everyday life, the experience of love and the loss of the beloved. It also addresses broader socio-political issues, such as the policing of women’s bodies, the struggle to legalise abortion, and the fight against authoritarianism and war, from the dictatorship in Portugal to the Iraq War. The book reflects the richness of Rego’s work, from the sociopolitical context to the biographical, from her many literary references to her vast knowledge and referencing of key historical paintings from the Western tradition.