Remedios Varo


The visionary painter Remedios Varo depicts herself sitting at a desk dedicated to magical work , embarking on a journey to discover the true meaning of life , or completely dissolving into the environment around her. Varo painted deep , intuitive, and multi-sensory images in hopes of inspiring learning and promoting better individual balance in an interconnected universe. Interestingly, it was not until the last 13 years of the artist’s life, after having fled Europedevastated by war, and having found a home in Mexico she finally manages to break free from restrictions and paint freely. Each work completed by Varo demonstrates deep technical skill and an extraordinary understanding of human nature.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 12/16/1908
  • Where he was born: Angles, Spain
  • When he died: 10/08/1963
  • Where he died:  Mexico City, Mexico

Who was Remedios Varo?

Remedios Varo was an important painter of Spanish origin and nationalized Mexican who was introduced to avant – garde painting using personal surrealism , poetry , humor, the unknown and the mystical.


Biography of Remedios Varo

He was born in Anglès, Gerona and moved to Madrid together with his family since he was 9 years old. His father, Rodrigo Varo y Zejalvo , was a freethinking engineer interested in social issues and a lover of mineralogy, and his mother, Ignacia Uranga y Begareche , of Basque descent. She was the second of three siblings; his brothers were Rodrigo and Luis.


As a child she showed great interest in painting and was supported by her father starting her artistic studies of painting at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid when she was only fifteen years old, and where she met Salvador Dalí . She married the painter Gerardo Lizárraga in San Sebastián. He travels to Paris to find the avant-garde in its origin and where it resides for a year. In 1932 she returned to Barcelona where she worked with her husband as an advertising illustrator. Some time later she divorces and meets Esteban Francés, an avant-garde with whom she shares a studio in the Plaza de Lesseps in Barcelona .

In 1937 he decided to support the republican party during the Spanish civil war , at which time he met the poet Benjamin Péret , with whom he established a loving relationship, moving to Paris, where he lived until the Nazi invasion .

With the Nazi invasion in 1940, Péret and Remedios Varo travel to Marseille , to wait for their exit visa. Finally, in 1941 they arrived in Mexico City , a place where they met many friends from Europe , and a place that was their refuge until the day of their death .


The main characteristics of his works were the following:

  • He always sought to combine the mythical with the scientific , the sacred with the profane .
  • It was based on the surrealist movement and metaphysical studies .
  • He was also influenced by physics , mathematics , engineering , biology, and psychoanalysis .
  • His characters generally have almond- shaped eyes and androgynous features .
  • As an artist, he liked to use hidden symbols and elements in his works.
  • In his works he also involves concepts of magic , imagination and mysticism.


Remedios Varo’s technique was greatly influenced by the events of her life, multiple marriages , feelings of guilt for the loss of her sister, war , folklore . It reflected the union of the mythical and the scientific to result in transcendence and reincarnation, shaping the soul in his works. He strove to represent nature , alchemy , the supernatural , and women as a source of sensitivity and regenerative powers. His works were full of androgynous beings and movement, dream and reality, diversity, cats, worlds full of artistic geometry, narrative, feminism .

Acknowledgments to Remedios Varo

The recognitions for the artist have been made after her death, some of these posthumous recognitions are the following:

  • In 2007, the Cuban writer Zoé Valdés published the novel ” La cazadora de astros ” in which she narrates the life of Remedios Varo.
  • Barcelona recognized her in 2008 with a plaque in the Diagonal Mar neighborhood gardens that bear her name: « Jardines Remedios Varo « .
  • The University of Barcelona organized international seminars to praise the 70th anniversary of the Spanish-Mexican painter’s exile due to the war.
  • The painter was featured post mortem in the Mega Ofrenda por Día de Muertos of the UNAM , in 2013.

Works by Remedios Varo

Some of his most important works have been:

  • Unexpected visit (1958): a work full of mysticism , surrealism , that turns the ordinary into enigmatic.
  • Ruptura (1955): in the painting you can see a being wrapped in a cape that turns its back on a perfect geometric figure that represents the system in which Remedios Varo cannot fit, where it is observed fleeing from everything that has been previously established, moving away from the conventions that do not allow you to free your thinking
  • The Alchemist (1958): also known as ” Useless Science “, a painting that blends into the environment that represents wisdom , experience , reflection and union . All the textures in the painting, although they are different, complement each other.
  • Reflejo Lunar (1957): where she is amazed by the perfection of the cosmos , somewhat incredulous and childish but focusing on science and the universe .
  • Cazadora de Astros (1956): a painting where astral themes are the main ones and where the moon is appreciated in a cage, demonstrating imprisoned thought and tied creativity .


Some of the most representative phrases that were pronounced by Remedios Varo are the following:

  • You can go from here to there, but as long as you are not well , nothing around you will be.
  • Everything she did or undid, no matter how crazy it might seem to a prejudiced observer, was done with what should be done, that is, with courage and without fear of consequences. In this way, everyone has the right to act as they see fit. But jumping into the water to swim and not wanting to get your clothes wet at the same time, this, Gerardo, is impossible.
  • The surrealism has contributed to the art generally the same extent that psychoanalysis has helped to explore the subconscious .
  • I came to Mexico looking for the peace that I had not found, neither in Spain that of the revolution, nor in Europe, that of the terrible conflict, for me it was impossible to paint amid so much restlessness.
  • Sometimes I write as if drawing a sketch .
  • I am more from Mexico than from anywhere else. I know little about Spain : I was very young when I lived in it.

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