Chronology of Remedios Varo

(Anglés, Girona, 1908 - Mexico City, 1963)

In compiling this chronology, I used the following sources: Catalogue of the exhibition Los surrealistas en México (México D.F.: Museo Nacional de Arte, 1986. 84-87)Catalogue of the exhibition Remedios Varo, (Sala de Expociones, Banco Exterior de España, November 1988-January 1989. Madrid: Fundación Banco Exterior, 1988); Catalogue of the exhibition Remedios Varo 1908-1963 [February 25 to June 5, 1994, Sala Carlos Pellicer]. Mexico, D.F.: Museo de Arte Moderno, 1994); Janet A. Kaplan, Unexpected Journeys. The Art and Life of Remedios Varo (New York: Abbeville Press, 1988); Ida Rodríguez Prampolini, El Surrealismo y el arte fantástico de México. (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1969); Beatriz Varo, Remedios Varo: en el centro del microcosmos (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1990).

1913-16- Her father, Rodrigo Varo y Cejalbo, a hydraulic engineer takes the family around Spain and North Africa. After many journeys, the Varo family establishes their home in Madrid.

1924-Studies painting at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid.

1930-Marries painter Gerardo Lizárraga in San Sebastián. Travels to Paris to find the avant-garde at its source.

1932-Returnes to Spain, choosing Barcelona as her new city. Separates from Lizárraga. Meets the avant-garde artists Esteban Francés and shares with him a studio in the Plaza de Lesseps..

1935-36-Frequents the "Logicophobiste" group. Participates in a group exhibition sponsored by ADLAN (Amics de L'Art Nou), a small organization founded in Barcelona for encouraging vanguard movements in literature and the arts. Exhibition of drawings (with José Luis Florit) in Madrid. In Barcelona meets the Spanish surrealist Oscar Domínguez. Meets the French Surrealist poet Benjamon Péret through Domínguez in Barcelona.

1937-Accompanies Péret to Paris. Meets Miró, Max Ernst, Victor Brauner, Wolfgang Paalen, André Breton and Leonora Carrington. Participates in several Surrealist activities. Participates in the International Surrealist Exhibit in Tokyo. The French Surrealist periodical Minotaur publishes her work "Desire."

1938-Some of her works are published in Trayectoire du rêve and Visage du monde. Exhibits (with other Surrealists) in the Gallery Robert Amsterdam of Paris.

1940-The Nazis in Paris. Péret and Varo go to Marseilles where many of the Surrealist (Breton, Ernst, Domínguez, Brauner, among others) wait for their exit visas. They keep the Surrealist spirit alive despite the difficult situation. One of group's favorite activity is the cadavre exquis.

1941-Péret and Varo arrive in Mexico City at the end of the year. They meet many friends from Europe, including Gerardo Lizárraga, Esteban Francés, Leonora Carrington, Gunther Gerszo, Kati Horna and José Horna, and Emerico (Chiqui) Weisz. Finds welcome refuge in Mexico, where she remains until her death.

1942-Writes "Lady Milagra," a story on the theme of the magical ability of women. Develops an extraordinary friendship with Carrington. Studies mystic disciplines and reads metaphysical texts. Varo works with the antifascit propaganda office, making dioramas and small stage sets to illustrate Allied war victories. Lives a hand-to-mouth existence. Works for Clardecor, hand painting designs onto furniture and musical instruments. Designs costumes for theatrical productions and illustrates promotional literature for the pharmaceutical firm Casa Bayer.

1947-49-Separates from Péret who returns to Paris. Meets the French pilot Jean Nicolle. Participates in the International Surrealist Exhibit in the Gallery Maeght, Paris. Travels to Venezuela with Nicolle. Her brother Rodrigo is the chief of epidemiology for the Ministry of Public Health in Maracay. He lives in Venezuela with his family, including Varo's mother, doña Ignacia Uranga y Bergareche. Varo gets a job doing technical drawing for the Venezuelan Ministry of Public Health. Together with Nicolle explores the isolated region of south-central Venezuela. Remains in Venezuela until the beginning of 1949.

1953-Marries Walter Gruen, an Austrian exile and successful businessman in Mexico City. They had met in the early 1940s. Gruen encourages her to resume painting. Varo devotes her time fully to her work.

1955-Participates with four paintings in her first Mexican exhibition at the Galería Diana. Invited to have a solo exhibition there. She includes twelve works. Her exhibition is a huge success. She establishes as a self-supporting artist.

1958-Participates in the First Salon of Women's Art at the Galerías Excelsior of Mexico, together with Leonora Carrington, Alice Rahon, Bridget Tichenor, and other women painters. Receives 3,000-peso first prize for her paintings Harmony and Be Brief.

Keeps studying mysticism. Reads texts of alchemy, sacred geometry, the I Ching. Explores the ideas of Jung, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Blavatsky, Meister Eckhart, the Sufis, and the legends of the Holy Grail.

1959-Period of experimentation. She works in a mural commission for the new Cancer Pavilion of the Medical Center in Mexico City. Begins work in her only surviving sculpture, the Homo Rodans, a small figure constructed of chicken, fish, and turkey bones wired together. Under the pseudonym Hälicko von Fuhrängschmidt, a German anthropologist, she writes De Homo Rodans.

1960-Participates, with Raúl Anguiano, Gustavo Montoya and Leonora Carrington, in the Bienal Panamericana de Pintura in Mexico City.

1962- Has her second solo exhibition at the Galería Juan Martín of Mexico City, showing fifteen works. Enjoys an overwhelming critical and popular success.

1963-Paints her last picture, Still Live Reviving. Dies in Mexico City, on Tuesday, the 8 of October, of a heart attack.