Dame Maria Paula Figueiroa Rego DBE GCSE GOSE RA was a Portuguese-British visual artist known particularly for her paintings and prints based on storybooks.
Born on January 26, 1935, in Lisbon, Portugal, Rego’s style evolved from abstract towards representational, and 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. She lived and worked in London.
Dame Paula Parents: Maria de São José Avanti Quaresma de Paiva, José Fernandes Figueiroa Rego
Dame Paula was born to Maria de São José Avanti Quaresma de Paiva and José Fernandes Figueiroa Rego.
Her father was an electrical engineer who worked for the Marconi Company and was ardently anti-fascist.
Her mother was a competent artist but, as a conventional Portuguese woman, gave her daughter no encouragement towards a career, even though she began drawing at age 4.
The family was divided in 1936 when her father was posted to work in the United Kingdom. Rego’s parents left her behind in Portugal in the care of her grandmother until 1939.
Rego’s grandmother was to become a significant figure in her life, as she learned from her grandmother and the family maid, many of the traditional folktales that would one day make their way into her art work.