[Spanish born Mexican Surrealist Painter, 1908-1963]
Remedios Varo was born in Spain in 1908, as a small child she began to express herself by painting. In her eagerness to show the world, she was able to create a cosmos of poetry and imagination. Varo's father was a Hydraulic Engineer, and to a large extent the person who most influenced her artwork. At a young age, Varo learned to use the engineering instruments from her father. The instruments transmitted fantasies. Many of her paintings are the reflection of those years. , the symbolic figures represent solitude and a rebellious character, she was not allowed to express herself freely.
At the age of 15, Varo was admitted in the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. The artistic atmosphere of the academy allowed her to learn about the surrealist movement. Surrealism was very fashionable at the time, she was attracted to the idea of expressing her emotions using figures and symbols. She met and married the Surrealist poet Benjamin Peret in Barcelona. Varo moved to become part of a more avant-garde milieu in Paris.
Settled in Paris with Peret at the end of the Spanish Civil War and was active in Surrealist circles there between 1937 and 1939. Varo combined her learned technique from years before with her extraordinary talent. It was a perfect formula. Other famous surrealist artists include Leonora Carrington, Roberto Matta, Gunther Gerzso and Frida Kahlo
orced to flee France for political reasons. Varo, remembering from her childhood trips to North Africa with her father that Moslem dead must be wrapped in white for their final meeting with God, had raised small sums of money for the voyage by selling the few white bed sheets she had been able to pack. And with help of influential friends in Marseilles, she managed to secure steamer passage for the couple. Prevented from traveling to New York with other Surrealist émigrés because of Peret's leftist political affiliations and support for the Loyalist cause in Spain, the penniless couple had waited months in Casablanca because they didn't have the right papers.
In November 1941, after a long and difficult journey, the couple arrived in Mexico with no money other than the small allowance paid to Spanish political exiles by the Mexican government, and settled in a decaying apartment building on Gabino Barreda, not far from the ancient Aztec center of Mexico City and near the more recent Monument to the Revolution. Varo immediately began the wearying task of providing an income for the couple, an undertaking dictated by necessity, but one that would drain much time and energy from her own painting for the next ten years.
The couple joined an active group of expatriate painters and writers that included Leonora Carrington. A close relationship developed between Varo and Carrington, and together they created a new pictorial language more relevant to their own styles and requirements. They became absorbed in mysticism, sharing dreams, stories, and magic potions, as well as using painting as a recording of life's journeys.
Varo had her first one-woman exhibition in 1956 at the Galeria Diana in Mexico City; her retrospective at the Museo de Arte Moderno in 1971 drew the largest audiences in Mexican history. As a result, Varo remained in Mexico until her death in 1963.