Paula Rego is a Portuguese-born artist who is particularly known for her paintings and prints based on storybooks. Rego’s style has evolved from abstract towards representational, and she has favoured pastels over oils for much of her career. Her work often reflects feminism, coloured by folk-themes from her native Portugal.
Rego studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and was an exhibiting member of the London Group, along with David Hockney and Frank Auerbach. She was the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London.
Paula Rego is a prolific painter and printmaker, and in earlier years also produced collage work. Her well-known depictions of folk tales and images of young girls, made largely since 1990, bring together methods of painting and printmaking that emphasise strong, clearly drawn forms, in contrast to the looser style of her earlier paintings.
Rego has been known to rebuke critics who read too much sexual content into her work. An explanation for Rego’s depiction of women as unfeminine, animalistic or brutal beings is that this reflects the physical reality of women as human beings in the physical world, rather than the idealised female type in the minds of men.