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  • Cramer & Del George

Paula Rego, Fairy-Tale Artist


Painting of Snow White writhing from being poisoned
Paula Rego, Swallows the Poisoned Apple, 1995, Pastel on paper, mounted on aluminium. Image © Saatchi Gallery.

Last week, Paula Rego died at 87, and her career ended only then. Her art is disturbing and vigorous, realistic and inspired by fairy tales. Rego grew up under dictatorship in Portugal and lived most of her adult life in England.


Fairy tale expert Marina Warner said of Rego, "She's inspired by the torments of convention and the perversity of social expectation" (The Guardian). Rego's paintings of Snow White connect these torments and perversities to the fairy tale, which has a long history of both.


In 2018, the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego in Cascais, Portugal, exhibited her illustrations of traditional Portuguese folk and fairy tales, in which she "introduces the voice of women, which has always been a dominant feature of the oral tradition of fairy tales."


Thanks to our colleague Lawrence Driscoll for calling our attention to this great artist.

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