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
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
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
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
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.
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