This pencil sketch is the first of Paula Rego’s Dog Women
works, drawn in her first year studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. Rego created a series of large scale works on the theme in the 1990s, portraying women as dogs to emphasise their physicality, explaining that ‘Women learn from those they are with; they are trained to do certain things, but they are also part animal.’ Rego has emphasised that her dog women are not downtrodden, but powerful – like this sketched Dog woman, with her wild hair and bared teeth.
Date of work
Original: Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium1800 x 1300 mmCollection Ostrich Arts Ltd (PR)© Paula Rego
Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1935 and has travelled between London and Portugal throughout her life. She studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and throughout her career she has revolutionised the way in which women are represented, playing a key role in redefining figurative art in the UK and internationally. Her early paintings in Portugal were semi-abstract, sometimes applied to violent or political subjects that revealed a love of story-telling that had been awakened in her as a child by folk-tales related by a great-aunt. She is drawn to subjects that are well known, and takes her imagery from sources as varied as Peter Pan and Mary Magdalene. Her work is part of many public collections, including Tate’s collection.