The Visions of Remedios Varo: Greatness Overlooked
Remedios Varo (1908-1963), born in Spain, fled to France to avoid the Spanish Civil War, then to Mexico to avoid the German occupation of France; was a visionary in the surrealist genre of painting par excellence. Her themes, imagery, and techniques should place her among the top tier of surrealist painters; alongside Dali, DeChirico, Ernst, and Breton. Yet her imagery barely receives a footnote in any of the art history texts I have read or browsed.
Her images evoke thoughts of dreams and perhaps even nightmares, but is presented in such a way that the viewer is not threatened; indeed the imagery is pleasantly haunting, almost hypnotic. In them you see the influence of Bosch and DeChirico but the themes of alchemy and women as otherworldly muses are hers’ alone.
Why has she flown under the radar and not been placed among the greats of this genre?
In my opinion the explanation is simple. The art world is a microcosm of how the world is and has been for time in memoriam; male dominated, specifically white male dominated who have traditionally or historically sought to suppress, impede, deny, and negate the influence, accomplishments, and contributions of those of color and opposite gender. This occurs in all aspects of society (but that is another hub topic) and the art world is no different I am disappointed to say.
Amongst her peers she received acclaim but sadly, tragically she passed away just as she was beginning to receive the public adulation she deserved.
As America is experiencing a new beginning and acceptance of change in how those of color are viewed (at least on the surface) and how women are being recognized for their contributions and achievements that benefit mankind, I hope this trickles down into all aspects of society to the point where a artistic genius like Remedios Varo would garner more than a footnote art history and receives full acknowledgement of her contribution to the surrealist movement in art.