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Portuguese artist Dame Paula Rego dies, aged 87

Celebrated painter died peacefully at home, after short illness

Iconic Portuguese-British visual artist Dame Paula Rego has died, aged 87.

Contemporary art gallery Victoria Miro announced the news over Twitter, writing : “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of the Portuguese-born, British artist Dame Paula Rego at the age of 87.”

“She died peacefully this morning, after a short illness, at home in North London, surrounded by her family. Our heartfelt thoughts are with them.”

Dame Paula was best known for her paintings based on folk tale storybooks, writes the Independent. Over the years, her style evolved from abstract to representational, but her works continued to reflect feminism.

She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and her many feats included becoming an exhibiting member of the London Group, along with fellow artists David Hockney and Frank Auerbach.

Dame Paula also became the first artist-in-residence at London’s National Gallery.

In spite of living outside Portugal for so many years, Paula Rego has never lost her connection with this country – having a museum entirely dedicated to her work in Cascais.

President Marcelo has already lamented her passing, acknowledging that she has been “a very important artist for the world” for decades.

He told reporters Dame Paula’s death is thus a “national and international loss” for both Portugal and  the United Kingdom.

Portugal’s head of State said he will be talking with the prime minister “to decide the best way to pay homage” to a creative force who will always be one of the most celebrated Portuguese artists.