The only female artist to be part of the London Group, Paula Rego set herself apart with her highly figurative, literary, incisive and unusual work.
Born in Lisbon in 1935, Paula Rego left Portugal and Salazar’s oppressive dictatorship as an adolescent to study in London, where she has now lived for over fifty years. As a student at the Slade School of Arts, she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and David Hockney.
Dark narratives, her paintings seem to be taken from a cruel tale, and evoke the female condition in strange scenes, going against social codes. "My favourite themes are power games and hierarchies. I always want to turn things on their heads, to upset the established order, to change heroines and idiots".
With around 70 paintings and drawings, the exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie will present a journey through her work from the large acrylic paintings on paper of animal child-women, a large collection of graphic works set against accompanying drawings and old engravings - Daumier, Goya, Degas, Rabier, etc. – to the great cycles in pastel presented with models, dolls and animals from her studio.
This is the first major exhibition in a French museum by this artist who is well known in Portugal and Great Britain. It includes a work belonging to the British Council collection, Snare.