The very first works of Varo’s a self-portrait and several portraits of family members date to 1923 when Remedios Varo was studying for a baccalaureate at the School of Arts and Crafts. She was forced into exile from Paris during the Nazi occupation of France and moved to Mexico City at the end of 1941. He encouraged independent thought and supplemented her education with science and adventure books notable the novels of Alexandre Dumas Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe.
She died at the height of her career from a heart-attack in Mexico City in 1963. She initially considered Mexico a temporary haven but would remain in Latin America for the rest of her life. He and his wife Alexandra whom he married in 1965 acquired all the paintings given to the museum on the open market after Varo's death and are therefore his to give.