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Artists Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo Photo

Remedios Varo

Mexican Painter and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Surrealism, Modern Sculpture, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: December 16, 1908 - Anglès, Girona Spain

Died: October 8, 1963 - Mexico City, Mexico

Remedios Varo Timeline

Quotes

"Yes, I visualize it before beginning to paint and the treatment must be adjusted to the image that I have formulated."
Remedios Varo
"I am more from Mexico than from any other place. I know little of Spain; I was very young when I lived there. Then I lived the years of apprenticeship, of assimilation in Paris, then the war...It is in Mexico that I felt welcomed and secure."
Remedios Varo
"I am basically interested in the primitive painters, and besides them, El Greco and Goya."
Remedios Varo
"I do not believe that in its essence it (Surrealism) can decline since it is a sentiment inherent to man...Surrealism has contributed to art in the same way that psychoanalysis has contributed to the exploration of the subconscious."
Remedios Varo

"I do not wish to talk about myself because I hold very deeply the belief that what is important is the work, not the person."

Remedios Varo Signature

Synopsis

The visionary lone painter, Remedios Varo, typically portrays herself sitting at a desk engaged in magical work, embarking on a journey to unlock true meaning, or dissolving completely into the environment that surrounds her. As a well-studied alchemist, seeker, and naturalist, however dreamlike her imagery may appear, it is in fact reality observed more clearly; Varo painted deep, intuitive, and multi-sensory pictures in hope to inspire learning and promote better individual balance in an interconnected universe. Interestingly, and understandably, it was not until the last 13 years of the artist's life, having fled war-torn Europe, found home in Mexico (amongst a community of other displaced Surrealists) and finally become free of ongoing financial constraints that she was able to paint prolifically. Every work completed by Varo demonstrates profound technical skill and an extraordinary insight into human nature.

Key Ideas

Although an avid believer in the inter-relatedness of all things and people, including the inter-weave of sound, light and image, her paintings are not typically populated by multiple figures. Instead we are usually introduced to an isolated creaturely hybrid thinker/artist character, reminiscent of St. Jerome in his study or a wise crone wandering in search of new discoveries.
Varo repeatedly situates mystical machines in her pictures. Whilst in most cases such industrial looking devices function to make products that can be touched, held, and made use of, Varo's structures are here to process that which we cannot see. As our emotions and psychological lives are intangible and invisible, it is useful to investigate them within some kind of known parameters, i.e. within a previously encountered system. Therefore, such apparatus, however made strange, help us to communicate what would be otherwise unspeakable ideas.
Varo surrounded herself by a group of likeminded women (with Leonora Carrington and Kati Horna in particular) also interested in alchemy and the occult. Together, these women - sometimes referred to as 'the three witches' - placed full attention on achieving a higher spiritual life, recognizing that such divine power would then in turn be transmuted more widely throughout the cosmos. They were sensitive to a shared ancestral/evolutionary feminine consciousness and felt determined to free women from repressive patriarchal hierarchies, often illustrated in the work of Varo by repeated motifs of the cage and the tower. Imbued at once with a natural and cultivated understanding of opposites and union, Varo and her friends transformed relatively small and domestic experiences into colossal and universal ideas.

Biography

Remedios Varo Photo

Childhood

Remedios Varo was born María de los Remedios Alicia Rodriga Varo y Uranga in the small town of Anglès, located in the province of Girona in Spain. Her father, Rodrigo Varo y Zajalvo, was a hydraulic engineer, whose work often necessitated moving his family throughout Spain and North Africa. This disruption had a profound effect on Varo, and, as if longing for 'home', she kept a childhood postcard of Anglès all her life.

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Remedios Varo Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Remedios Varo
Interactive chart with Remedios Varo's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Francisco GoyaFrancisco Goya
El GrecoEl Greco
Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
André BretonAndré Breton
Max ErnstMax Ernst

Personal Contacts

Esteban Francés
Marcel Jean
Max ErnstMax Ernst
René MagritteRené Magritte
Victor BraunerVictor Brauner

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo
Years Worked: 1924 - 1963
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Octavio Paz
Thomas Pynchon
Rosario Castellanos

Personal Contacts

Leonora CarringtonLeonora Carrington
Kati HornaKati Horna

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Dr. Rebecca Baillie

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Dr. Rebecca Baillie
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