by Paula Rego
pastel on paper laid on aluminium, 1995
47 1/4 in. x 43 3/4 in. (1200 mm x 1111 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Germaine Greer (1939-), Writer and broadcaster; Professor of English and Comparative Studies. Sitter in 9 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait of Germaine Greer by Paula Rego is one of the most successful - and popular - of the Gallery's commissions. Although Paula Rego does not normally accept commissions, she agreed to paint Germaine Greer, the most public advocate of feminism and author of The Female Eunuch. This was partly because Greer had been a long-standing supporter of Rego's work, having written an introductory essay to a catalogue of her paintings when she was artist-in-residence at the National Gallery. Arrangements were made for sittings to take place at Rego's studio in Camden Town during the hot August of 1995. Greer was wearing her favourite Jean Muir dress and old, gold shoes and her hands were rough from gardening. In all they had thirty hours of sittings and listened to the entire Ring cycle. The result is a powerful example of contemporary portraiture: vigorous, straightforward, but monumental as well. The portrait's lack of flattery appeals to Greer: 'A portrait that is kind is condescending. The last thing I would want is for Paula to condescend to me, and it's the last thing she would think of doing.'
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- 100 Pioneering Women, p. 132
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 61
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 8
- Eger, Elizabeth; Peltz, Lucy, Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings, 2008 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 March to 15 June 2008), p. 147
- Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 5
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 8
- Nairne, Sandy; Howgate, Sarah, The Portrait Now, 2006, p. 10
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 242
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 251
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 237
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 237
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 263
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 251
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Icons and Idols: Commissioning Contemporary Portraits (2 March 2006 - 18 June 2006)
Mediaback to top
Events of 1995back to top
Current affairsNick Leeson is imprisoned for four years after he is found to have hidden $1.4 billion in debt. Leeson acted as a 'rogue trader' by dealing in futures and options on the Tokyo stock exchange without the authority of Barings Bank who he was working for. After an earthquake in Japan the market took a massive downturn and Barings - Britain's oldest bank - went bankrupt.
Art and scienceTwo classic Britpop singles fight for the number 1 spot when Blur releases Country House on the same day as Oasis's Roll With It. Although Blur sold more copies of their single, Oasis eclipsed them when their album (What's the Story) Morning Glory became the forth best selling UK album of all time.
Jonathan Edwards breaks the world record for triple jump twice in once day.
InternationalOver 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys are murdered by the Bosnian Serb army in the Srebrenica Massacre. The genocide was part of Serbia's ethnic cleansing campaign to remove the Bosniak population from the Serb Republic. It was the largest mass-murder in Europe since World War II.
12 people die, and 54 are seriously injured when members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult release Sarin gas into the Tokyo subway.
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Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer