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Remedios
Varo

Mexico 
born in XX century
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Biography and information

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Remedios Varo (full name of Maria de los Remedios Alicia Rodrigue Varo and Uranga, December 16, 1908, Angles - October 8, 1963, Mexico City) - Spanish and Mexican surrealist painter.

Features of the artist Remedios Varo: Surrealism became for Remedios Varo a means for understanding the Universe, the mechanism by which it broke out of the framework of scientific principles and linear logic. Her works, in which the world of dreams and psychedelic "memory of ancestors" are intertwined, are saturated with intuitive decisions and intellectual curiosity. The fundamentals of mechanics and architecture, attention to the smallest details, passion for alchemy and occultism, philosophical reflections and dreams - all this is in Varo's personal world, mysterious and fantastic. Favorite artists of Remedios whom she admired and who influenced her work were Hieronymus bosch, Francisco Goya, El Greco, Pablo Picasso, George braque. She was very sensitive to the natural environment and believed that there was a strong connection between the plant, human, animal, and mechanical worlds.

Many of the characters in the paintings have similarities with the appearance of the artist herself - a heart-shaped face, almond-shaped eyes, a long, sharp nose and lush hair.

Famous paintings by artist Remedios Varo: "Allegory of Winter", "Sunny Music", "Creator of birds", "Useless Science or Alchemist", "Call".

To freedom through art
Childhood Remedios Varo passed in a constant change of impressions: the mother and father did not want to be separated for a long time, but the work of Rodrigo Varo-i-Zayalvo required regular trips, and his wife, Ignasia Uranga Bergareche, faithfully followed her husband with the children. On the road, Don Rodrigo, a hydraulic engineer, entertained his daughter, letting her redraw her blueprints, explaining to the child the purpose of certain mechanisms. Remedios’s inquisitive mind absorbed knowledge, pencil lines gradually became accurate and confident, and beyond the window of a train or a ship's porthole the landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula were replaced by views of North Africa.

For some time the family settled in Madrid. Rodrigo, an agnostic and liberal, gave his daughter to one of the "free schools", but later, at the insistence of the Catholic mother, the girl was transferred to a school at the monastery. It was quite in the spirit of the time, as well as in the Spanish tradition of attitudes towards the role of women in society. Young Varo, with her rich imagination and world of magic dreams, was crowded in the monastic classes, and she found her way to personal freedom - through art.

Painting and science
Encouraged by her father, in September 1924, at the age of 15, Remedios Varo passed difficult exams and became a student at San Fernando, the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where at the same time she studied Salvador Dali. In addition to painting and drawing lessons, famous scientists Albert Einstein and Maria Curie, science fiction writer Herbert Wells and Nietzsche's follower, Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, lectured at the Academy. Sigmund Freud's theories and the work of Andre Breton, the founder of surrealism, were discussed at student gatherings. Above this raging cauldron of thoughts, theories and opinions, subtle vibes soared the imagination of a former student of the monastic school for girls and the future star of surrealism.

Over time, the interests of the young artist to scientific discoveries spread to cosmology, the theory of evolution, astronomy, genetics and were reflected in the plots and names of her paintings. And the Royal Academy gave her excellent classical training. For an additional fee, Varo attended the class of decorative painting, where she deepened her knowledge of oil painting, preparing canvases and other basics for her works.

Marriage for life
At the age of 20, Remedios Varo married a young artist Gerardo Lizzarrag. Hot-tempered, like all Basques, very talented, Lizzaraga had a good sense of humor and unfailing kindness. He was repeatedly noted for his work at academic exhibitions, and also directed several films with surrealist plots. After a while, married life fell apart, but the friendship between Varo and Lizzaraga remained with them for life; officially they have not divorced.

Madrid-Paris-Barcelona
In Spain, great political and social unrest was brewing. The monarchy fell, but the Republic did not last long: the reactionists staged a revolt, it was unsafe on the streets of Madrid. Varo and Lizzaraga decided to go to Paris to immerse themselves in the world of avant-garde art. Varo entered the Accademia de la Grand Chaumiere, but it was enough for only three weeks: the walls of the classes put pressure on her, and the artist wanted personal experience, not limited by anything. The carefree life of poor artists, the heated debate in the Parisian artistic cafes - the generation of new ideas lasted a year. The artists decided to return to Spain, but not to Madrid, but to a liberal and very “European” Barcelona, which by that time set the tone for avant-garde art in the country.

Overcoming all the established canons, Varo fell in love with the young Catalan artist Esteban Frances and some time later broke up with Lizzaraga. Varo and Frances shot a small room and plunged into creativity: paintings, sketches, collages - both dived into surrealism with their heads, new art completely absorbed them. Lizaraga worked with them. Varo wrote the paintings in the studio, and also collaborated with the advertising agency James Walter Thompson. The artists met with the surrealist poet Paul Eluard, corresponded with Marcel Duchampfriends with surrealist painter Oscar Dominguez.

In 1936, Varo joined a group of artists and writers united by surrealism - Logicophobiste (Logicophobists) - and showed three of her works at an exhibition in the Catalonia de Barcelona gallery, favorably received by the public. Shortly thereafter, a civil war began in Spain. Varo's younger brother, Louis, volunteered for General Franco, and soon died. Remedios was very sad about the death of his brother, and his decision to fight under the banner of the enemy.

Paris
Thirst for life took its toll. In the horrors of the war on her way met the French surrealist poet Benjamin Pere, friend of Andre Breton, who fought on the side of the republican government in the communist and anarchist groups. The passion was mutual: Pere devoted poems to his beloved, they constantly exchanged letters. And when, in 1937, Pere returned to Paris, Remedios left her husband Lizzaragu, the beloved Frances, and rushed to France - to a new passion, new adventures. And to a peaceful (yet) life. A year later, the way to Spain was closed to all Republicans: General Franco forbade them to enter their homeland, and Varo had grieved all her life that she had left her family.

In Paris, Pere introduced her to the circle of his surrealist friends, among whom was André Breton, Leonora Carrington (their friendship lasted for many years), Dora Maar, Roberto matta, Wolfgang Paalen and Max Ernst. In 1938, Varo is exhibited first in Paris, then in Amsterdam. Also draws up several magazines, participates in collective work with Breton and Pere. Varo later recalled her life in Paris: “Yes, I attended those meetings where they (the surrealists - ed.) Talked a lot, and everyone studied different things; sometimes I took part in their exhibitions ... I was with my mouth open in this group of brilliant and gifted people. I was with them because I felt a certain intimacy. Today I do not belong to any group; I draw what happens to me and everything. ”

Mexico
After the Nazi invasion of Paris in 1940, Varo found herself briefly in Spain, but was soon forced to leave the country and took refuge in Mexico, like many other artists. Believing that this was a temporary refuge, she earned money as a commercial artist, restored ceramics, together with Marc Chagall designed the costumes for the ballet Aleko, which premiered in Mexico City in 1942. For the pharmaceutical company Bayer, she created a number of paintings, developed designs for Clar Decor. Varo became close friends with the artist Leonora Carrington, met with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, maintained a relationship with the same as her fugitives, Kati and José Horne.

In 1947, Benjamin Pere returned to Paris, and Varo spent two years in Venezuela. After returning to Mexico, she met her last love — an Austrian Walter Grün, who survived concentration camps and fled Europe overseas. Grun gave the artist the opportunity to quietly concentrate on work, creating ideal conditions for her and removing financial problems from her shoulders. In 1955, Remedios Varo held the first solo exhibition in Mexico City, in Galería Diana, and very successfully: the buyers lined up. The second exhibition was held in 1958 in Salón de la Arte de Mujer. Mexico became for Varo the place where she was able to work calmly, slowly, brightly, embodying all her fantasies, without looking at anyone.

Remedios Varo talked a lot with his close friend, artist Leonora Carrington. Together they attended the meetings of the followers of the Russian mystics, Peter Ouspensky and George Gurdjieff, wrote two unpublished plays until now and drew inspiration from some sources. In art, they chose the same themes for paintings, while shades and color prevailed in Carrington’s works, while Varo delved into lines and shapes.

In 1963, Remedios Varo died of a heart attack. As Andre Breton wrote, she was “a sorceress who left too soon.”
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