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Exhibition of drafts shows importance of drawing for Paula Rego

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About 60 preparatory drafts of Paula Rego for her paintings, covering work done over three decades, will be on display in London, from Wednesday, 12, until 27 October.

The exhibition, promoted by Marlborough Fine Art, the gallery in London that represents the Portuguese painter, aims to show how the drawing is essential for understanding the work of the artist, and to highlight the talent, detail and creativity in the preparation of the pictures.

The techniques of observation and drawing were acquired by Paula Rego in her student days at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, said the artist, quoted in a presentation document.

“Drawing a model is more spontaneous than drawing from the imagination. I think if there is something to look at and try to capture it, a lot of things happen,” he says.

Programmer and artist Colin Wiggins describes Paula Rego’s work as “a combination of studio observation and imagination and childhood memories that have remained very much alive to her.”

In her opinion, the Portuguese imagination comes into operation when the painter makes her drawings, then constructing the stories she represents in her paintings, pastels and engravings, often inspired by literature, popular tales or religious texts.

The female figure usually has a prominent role in her compositions, with “ambiguous sexual tones and dark secrets,” through which she tackled political issues such as legalization of abortion, female genital mutilation and human slavery, the gallery describes.

The exhibition in London, titled “Paula Rego: From Mind to Drawings by Hand – 1980-2001”, follows another unpublished exhibition of the sketchbooks of the Portuguese painter, held at the Pallant House Gallery art gallery last year .

It also coincides with a large solo exhibition entitled “The Cruel Stories of Paula Rego” at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, which runs from October 17 to January 14, 2019.

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