Dame Paula Rego: Celebrated Portuguese-British artist dies at 87on June 8, 2022 at 12:20 pm

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A gallery representing the celebrated painter says she died peacefully at her home in north London.

Dame Paula Rego

Image source, Shutterstock

Renowned painter Dame Paula Rego has died at the age of 87, a gallery representing her has confirmed.

The Portuguese-British artist died in London in the early hours of Wednesday, the Victoria Miro gallery said.

Over a six-decade career, Dame Paula was known for characters inspired by fiction, fairytales and her own life.

The Luis I Foundation, an organisation linked to Dame Paula, said: “Portuguese culture has lost one of its most important and irreverent creators.”

A statement from the Victoria Miro gallery confirmed Dame Paula died peacefully at her home in north London, surrounded by her family, following a short illness.

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Last year, Dame Paula had a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Britain gallery, which described her at the time as “an uncompromising artist of extraordinary imaginative power”, who “revolutionised the way in which women are represented”.

Her works sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds and have featured in collections owned by famous names including Charles Saatchi and Madonna.

Writer and broadcaster Caitlin Moran led the tributes, tweeting: “Oh gosh – she was just SENSATIONAL: her retrospective at Tate last year was like stepping into cathedral after cathedral of genius.”

Born in 1935 in Lisbon into a prosperous family, Dame Paula was sent to an English finishing school as a teenager.

She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, and became well-known in Portugal thanks to her semi-abstract work that dealt with violent or political subjects.

She rose to prominence in the UK after exhibiting with the London Group in the 1960s alongside David Hockney.

Throughout her career, she advocated for women’s rights and abortion rights.

In 1990, Dame Paula became the first artist-in-residence at London’s National Gallery, and she was made a dame in 2010.

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