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Dame Paula Rego

(1935-2022), Artist

Sitter in 3 portraits
Artist of 2 portraits
Paula Rego was born in Portugal in 1935 and at age seventeen came to England where she studied at the Slade School of Art, London (1952-56). Her narrative figuration depicting psychological dramas found an appreciative audience in the 1980s. Her first solo exhibition was in 1981 at the AIR Gallery, London. Numerous solo exhibitions followed, including those at the Serpentine in 1988, Marlborough Fine Art in 1994, the Saatchi Gallery in 1994, and Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1998. She was appointed the first Artist-in-Residence at the National Gallery (1990-1) and in 1997 a retrospective of her work was held at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool. In 2009 a museum dedicated to her work, called Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, was opened in Cascais, Portugal. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2010. The largest retrospective of her work was held at Tate Britain in 2021.

Watch a film clip on the artist in the Media section below

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Germaine Greer, by Dame Paula Rego - NPG 6351

Germaine Greer

by Dame Paula Rego
pastel on paper laid on aluminium, 1995
NPG 6351

Sir David Hare, by Dame Paula Rego - NPG 6746

Sir David Hare

by Dame Paula Rego
pastel on paper laid on board, 2005
NPG 6746

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Media

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