Portuguese artist Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal. She attended the Slade School of Fine Arts in London, England from 1952-1956 where she also met her husband, Victor Willing. They returned to Portugal to marry, but settled in Camden Town just outside of London. Her earlier work in the sixties reflected her influence by Joan Miro’s surrealism, but transformed into a more semi-abstract style.
By 1965, she held her first solo show at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes in Lisbon, Portugal. Since that time Rego has participated in many groups including The London Group and The Institute of Contemporary Arts. Throughout much of her career she has worked with mostly pastels rather than oils and collage. Paula Rego is well known for her paintings and prints based on folk tales. In 1990, when Rego was appointed to be the first ‘Associate Artist’ of the National Gallery in London, her style began to change again. Much of the National Gallery collection reflects the ‘Old Masters’ and for the first time Rego began tightening up her art towards the way she had learned at the Slade School of Fine Arts.
Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura designed a museum for Rego dedicated to her work in Cascais, Portugal in 2009 featuring several key pieces. Her artwork can now be seen at public and private collections including 43 works in the collection of the British Council, 10 in the collection of the Arts Council of England, 46 works of art in the Tate Gallery, London; and many other institutions worldwide. Judged by some as Britain’s greatest living female painter, Paula Rego was made Dame Commander by the Queen of England in October 2010.