Remedios Varo

Remedios Varo


Artist Details

Birth Place
Anglès, Spain
Death Place
Mexico City
Phonetic Spelling
ray-MAY-dee-yohs VAH-roh
Places of Residence
Spain; France; Mexico
Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, 1924–1930
Retrospective Exhibitions

The Magic of Remedios Varo, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 2000; Remedios Varo, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, 1994; Instituto Nacional de Artes Finos, Mexico City, 1964

NMWA Exhibitions

The Magic of Remedios Varo, 2000
Artists on the Road: Travel as Source of Inspiration, 1997–98
Latin American Women Artists, 1915–1995, 1996

About the Artist

Remedios Varo’s paintings combine Surrealist influences with a distinctive style that evokes mystical or eerie adventures. She had a life philosophy of non-conformity and a personal story marked by dislocation and tumult.

During her childhood in Spain, Varo was influenced by her engineer father, who taught her to draw, and her strict Catholic schooling, against which she rebelled. Following her graduation from art school, she pursued Surrealism and political change. 

She moved to Paris in 1937, later finding that she could not return to Spain following the Spanish Civil War. Varo associated and exhibited with the Surrealists, exploring magic, alchemy, and analytical psychology. As World War II threatened Paris, Spanish refugees came under threat. Varo was arrested and held in early 1940. After her release, she fled Paris in the face of the Nazi invasion, and by late 1941 had secured passage to Mexico.

In Mexico, Varo remained friends with fellow refugees from her European Surrealist circle, including artist Leonora Carrington, who became her closest friend and collabo­rator. In the late 1940s, as she supported herself through commercial illustration, Varo began to develop her mature personal style. During succeeding decades, she devoted increased time and energy to her art, and she delved further into the fantastical sources that captured her imagination. Her death of a heart attack in 1963 occurred as she was reaching new renown.

National Museum of Women in the Arts