1908-1963 / Spanish painter of surrealism
Remedios Varo was born in 1908 in Girona, Spain and passed away at age 55 in Mexico City in 1963. Raised by a Catholic mother and an agnostic engineer father, these two forces—the spiritual and scientific—greatly influenced Varo’s artistic career. Considered a Spanish-Mexican artist who played an integral role in the Mexico City-based Surrealist movement, Varo is known for her enigmatic paintings of androgynous beings engaged in alchemy or the occult.
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, Varo moved to Barcelona in the mid-1930s and joined the Surrealist avant-garde art group Logicophobista. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, she fled for Paris with Surrealist poet Benjamin Péret. Although Varo was involved with Surrealism in Paris, her works were only exhibited with the group occasionally.
In the outbreak of the Second World War, Varo fled Nazi-occupied France for Mexico, where she connected with other exiled artists such as Wolfgang Paalen, Gordon Onslow Ford, and Leonora Carrington, who became Varo’s closest friend. By 1953 Varo was in a relationship with Austrian political refugee Walter Gruen, who passionately supported her artwork. During this time she devoted the rest of her life to painting. During these years Varo’s artistic style matured into a unique brand of symbolism and iconography, often featuring women with heart-shaped faces like her own. In 1956, she had her first major solo exhibition in Mexico City, and it was very well-received. She continued to exhibit thereafter, with much of her work created in the last 10 years of her life.
Der Ausbruch des zweiten Weltkrieges zwang Varo aus dem von Nazis besetzten Frankreich nach Mexico zu fliehen, wo sie andere Exilkünstler:innen kennenlernte, darunter Wolfgang Paalen, Gordon Onslow Ford und Leonora Carrington, welche ihre engste Freundin wurde.
1953 kam Varo mit dem Australier Walter Gruen zusammen, welcher sein Land aus politischen Gründen verlassen hatte und sie leidenschaftlich in ihrer Kunst unterstützte. Von nun an sollte sie ihr ganzes Leben dem Malen widmen. In dieser Zeit entwickelte sie einen einzigartigen Stil des Symbolismus und Ikonografie, in dem sie oft Frauen mit herzförmigen Gesichtern (wie dem ihren) abbildete.1956 hatte sie ihre erste große eigene Ausstellung in Mexico City, welche hochgelobt wurde. Von da an stellte sie regelmäßig aus – größtenteils die Werke ihrer letzten zehn Lebensjahre.
Varo’s work has been acquired by museums worldwide and she has had several solo shows. More recently, Varo’s work has been included in many group museum exhibitions worlwide and will be in the future.