Paula Rego was born in Lisbon and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She had her first exhibition at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes in Lisbon. Following her marriage to the painter Victor Willing, Rego returned to Portugal to live in Ericeira. The storybooks and atmosphere of her Portuguese upbringing were an important source of inspiration throughout her career as an artist. Of particular importance has been her insistence that her paintings must be built on a ‘story’ – not the illustration of a narrative, but emerging directly from a psychological situation producing a realisation of personal significance. While she consistently used animals as surrogate humans on satirical, sometime cartoon-like, compositions, the direction of her works from the late 1980s had been towards a greater realism that allowed more directness in bringing private insights into the public realm.
John McEwen, Paula Rego, Phaidon Press Ltd, London 1992
T G Rosenthal, Paula Rego: The Complete Graphic Work, Thames & Hudson, London 2003