The Art of Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo Uranga (16 December 1908 – 8 October 1963) was a Spanish-Mexican para-surrealist painter and anarchist.
Born in Girona, Spain in 1908, she studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. She is known as one of the world famous para-surrealist artists of the 20th Century. During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the surrealist movement. She met her second husband, the French surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, in Barcelona. She was forced into exile from Paris during the German occupation of France and moved to Mexico City at the end of 1941. She died in 1963, at the height of her career, from a heart attack, in Mexico City.
Renaissance art inspired harmony, tonal nuances, unity, and narrative structure in Varo’s paintings. The allegorical nature of much of Varo's work especially recalls the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, and some critics, such as Dean Swinford, have described her art as "postmodern allegory," much in the tradition of Irrealism.
Varo was greatly influenced by her first and second husband, Gerardo Lizarraga and Benjamin Peret. Her first husband was a well-respected painter and her second husband was a surrealist poet.
Varo was also influenced by styles as diverse as those of Francisco Goya, El Greco, Picasso, and Braque. While André Breton was a formative influence in her understanding of Surrealism, some of her paintings bear an uncanny resemblance to the Surrealist creations of the modern Greek-born Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.
While there is little overt influence of Mexican art on her work, Varo and the other surrealists were captivated by the seemingly porous borders between the marvelous and the real in Mexico.
She considered surrealism as an "expressive resting place within the limits of Cubism, and as a way of communicating the incommunicable".
In 1963 Varo died of a heart attack. Breton commented that the death made her "the sorceress who left too soon." Her mature paintings, fraught with arguably feminist meaning, are predominantly from the last few years of her life. Varo’s partner for the last 15 years of her life, Walter Gruen, dedicated his life to cataloguing her work and ensuring her legacy. The paintings of androgynous characters that share Varo’s facial features, mythical creatures, the misty swirls and eerie distortions of perspective are characteristic of Varo’s unique strain of surrealism. Varo has painted images of isolated, androgynous, auto-biographical figures to highlight the captivity of the true woman. While her paintings have been interpreted as more surrealist canvases that are the product of her passion for mysticism and alchemy, or as auto-biographical narratives, her work carries implications far more significant.
In 1971 the posthumous retrospective exhibition organised by the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, drew the largest audiences in its history - larger than those for Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco.
More than fifty of her works were displayed in a retrospective exhibition in 2000 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
Source: Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remedios_Varo
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