Study for the Artist in Her Studio II, 1993
Ink and watercolour on paper
29.5 x 42 cm
11 5/8 x 16 1/2 in
Completed in 1993, The Artist in Her Studio is one of the first major works created by Rego following her residency at the National Gallery, where she was the first National Gallery Associate Artist in 1989–1990. This important work is now in the collection of Leeds Art Gallery, purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund in 1994. Writing about that work in the book Paula Rego: The Art of Story, Deryn Rees-Jones comments, ‘The woman artist is depicted smoking in her studio in what might also be a playful reference to the pictorial challenge to representation itself made by René Magritte in The Treachery of Images (1928-29), in which an image of a pipe is accompanied by the words Ceci n’est pas un pipe (This is not a pipe). Rego’s attempt to locate herself using Portuguese dress, both in terms of her country of birth and as a woman, dramatizes her continuing wrestle with representation, as well as a desire to reimagine herself.’
In 2007, for her major exhibition at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Paula Rego reflected: 'That was very complicated to do, because I kept putting a man in and then obliterating him with cabbages. The original drawing has a man in there, kneeling, and then I couldn't do it and put cabbages in instead. The artist is me, but it's not like my studio. It is filled with lots of props and sculptures.'
Paula Rego, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain, September 25 - December 30, 2007; travelled to National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., USA, February 1 - May 25, 2008
Paula Rego, exh. cat. (Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 2007), illustrated pp. 112; 257