Biography of Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo was born on December 16, 1908. The father was a hydraulic engineer who was often sent to new sites in different parts of the world, and his wife and children moved to a new place of work with the head of the family.
So that the daughter did not get bored during long journeys by train or ship, her father gave her to redraw the drawings of mechanical installations. This trained the girl’s mind and memory, and also instilled a love of drawing. When the family settled in Madrid, the progressive father arranged for Remedios in a “free school”, but his mother was a devout Catholic and insisted on transferring to a monastery.
Remedios Varo spent several years at the church school. The study of biblical texts and religious dogmas left a certain imprint on the character of the freedom-loving girl. At the end of her studies, 15-year-old Remedios, constantly rebelling against strict rules, enlisted the support of her father and entered the art academy of San Fernando. There she met Salvador Dalí.
The Academy turned out to be a breath of fresh air after the monastic imprisonment.
Remedios Varo attends lectures by Albert Einstein, philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, science fiction writer Herbert George Wells. At student gatherings, he discusses the theories of Freud (Sigmund Freud) and the work of André Breton. Remedios is interested in cosmology, genetics and the theory of evolution, while attending decorative painting lessons, studying oil techniques.
At the age of 20, Remedios Varo found her happiness in marriage with fellow student Gerardo Lizarraga and left for Paris with him. Here she entered the Académie de la Grande Chaumière art academy, but studied for only three weeks the young artist wanted to generate new ideas through personal experience, and the walls of the educational institution limited these impulses. In artistic cafes, the couple got acquainted with surrealism and, inspired by the new philosophy, decided to return to Spain. This time to Barcelona, where Remedios met Esteban Francès, fell in love with him and parted ways with Lizzarraga.
Surrealism became a part of the life of Remedios Varo.
In 1936 she joined the Logicophobia group, exhibited three oil-on-copper paintings in an exhibition and found new love in the person of Benjamin Péret. Ardent Remedios moved to a new lover in Paris, leaving her husband in Barcelona. It would seem that everything was going well, but General Franco closed the borders for the Republicans, and Varo remained in the French capital until the occupation.
In 1941, in search of a safe refuge from the war, the artist emigrated to Mexico. She made a living designing ballet costumes, drawing posters for Bayer, and designing for commercial projects. Mexico turned out to be the place where Remedios Varo found her last love the Austrian Walter Gruen, a wealthy publisher who believed in the artist’s talent and provided her with moral and financial support. Since 1952, Varo could do what she liked, without being distracted by everyday life and looking for money. During this period, she created her best works. And on October 8, 1963, she died of a heart attack at the height of her career.
The most famous paintings by Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo’s paintings are inhabited by outlandish fairy tale characters, mechanical constructions and nature. Unlike classical surrealism, in each of the artist’s works, a plot is clearly traced, leading the viewer to certain conclusions.
Among the best paintings by Remedios Varo:
Harmony (1956) it is assumed that this is a self-portrait of the artist. In June 2020, the painting was sold at Sotheby’s for 6 million.
The Creation of Birds (1957) is an allegory on the theme of the fifth day of the creation of the world. The role of the creator is assigned to the young wise Owl, who, with the help of a brush, an alchemical test tube and a magnifying glass, perfects the bird.
“Investigation of the origins of the Orinoco River” (1959) a woman went to the ends of the earth in search of the source of life.
The Call (1961) is a late self-portrait of the artist. A woman with a bright red shock of hair moves along the chosen path between the gray figures of people who have given up the search for their destiny.