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1961: Order and Chaos/

22 May - 23 November 2014

Opening at 6:pm.

Curators: Catarina Alfaro, Leonor de Oliveira

Since 2009, the Casa das Histórias has made its presence felt as a monographic museum devoted to the artist Paula Rego and today, it is the museological facility that holds the most representative collection of the artist's production and engages in studying and disseminating her work and her closest artistic links. The exhibition 1961: Order and Chaos gathers together a broad collection of Paula Rego's work produced during the 1960s and 1970s[1] in an effort to document and analyse the beginning of her artistic path and the impact it made on the Portuguese panorama of the time.

Order and ChaosPaula Rego, Circus, 1961-1962

The work conceived by Paula Rego during these years calls up the country's political situation, where she commented upon it sarcastically and brutally. Upon stressing this thematic direction, the political unease running through the artist's work became further entrenched particularly during this period but also during later stages in her production.

Apart from Paula Rego's work, the work of other Portuguese artists is also shown; they too adopted a critical stance in relation to the country's political situation and its social and cultural life, while the same time they developed their own figurative language: they are the artists Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos and Eduardo Batarda. The connection is therefore explored between diverse, innovating kinds of research into the figurative field as from the 1960s together with political, social and cultural commentary.

Furthermore, the exhibition includes Victor Willing's work (taken from the Casa das Histórias collection) which reveals the artistic, intimate complicity that he established with Paula Rego. Considered at the Slade School of Art to be a "spokesman for his generation" owing to his intellectual brilliance, right from the start of Paula Rego's academic training, Willing became her guiding reference, her most immediate link to the artistic milieu of the time.  

Apart from displaying the paintings, engravings and drawings, there is also a part of the exhibition which comprises documentary evidence thereby recalling in a most forceful way, the most important milestones in Paula Rego's artistic career in Portugal: her first public exhibition in our country (1961), a study grant she received from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (1962-1963) and her first solo exhibition held at the National Society of Fine Arts in Lisbon (1965). The initiatives held by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation exerted a clear impact on Paula Rego's career and they are also reflected in the large number of her works the organisation has acquired since 1965. The Foundation has therefore been awarded a distinguished place in this retrospective owing to the large number of works it has loaned the exhibition, 1961: Order and Chaos.


[1] As regards the artist's creative period during the 1970s, the Casa das Histórias held an exhibition The 70s - Folk Tales and Other Stories curated by Ana Ruivo in 2010.