Leeds Art Gallery

Return to collection

The Artist in her Studio

Rego, Dame Paula (b. 1935), 1993, Painting; acrylic on canvas, 180 x 130

A British painter and printmaker of Portuguese birth,  Paula Rego was born in Lisbon.  Her father was posted to England and Rego was left in the care of her grandmother until she was four years old.  In Portugal she attended a school where the pupils were taught in English. Later she came to a finishing school in England and then won a place at the Slade School of Art, London, where she studied from 1952-56.   In 1962-3 Rego received a bursary from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation headquarters in Lisbon. She married a British artist, Victor Willing and in 1976 she settled permanently in London with her husband. Her work often refers to memories of the folk tales told to her by her grandmother and is also associated with feminism. Rego’s first major solo exhibition was in Lisbon but in 1988 her work was shown at the Serpentine Gallery, London and began to be bought by collectors and institutions.  In 1990 Rego was appointed the First National Gallery Associate Artist (artist in residence).   In 2009 a new museum dedicated to Rego’s work was opened in Cascais, Portugal and in 2010 she was created a Dame of the British Empire.  The Artist in her Studio was bought with the aid of a contribution from the LACF in 1994.