Maruja Mallo (Viveiro, 1902 – Madrid, 1995) began her artistic training in Avilés. In 1922 she moved to Madrid with her family where she met Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca. In 1928 she held her first exhibition at the offices of the Revista de Occidente. In 1930 the Exposición de arquitectura y pinturas modernas [Exhibition of Modern Architecture and Painting] in San Sebastián included one of her works. At this point her name was associated with the Nueva Objetividad [New Objectivity] movement, which recreated urban and cinematic motifs.
Her paintings fascinated writers such as Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Benjamín Jarnés, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Rafael Alberti, with whom she had a creative and sentimental relationship. In 1932, she traveled to Paris, met André Breton, and came into contact with the Surrealist group. When she returned to Madrid, between 1934 and 1935, she became interested in social subjects and visited Miguel Hernández.
Between 1937 and 1961, she lived in exile in Buenos Aires, with brief stays in Chile and Uruguay. In 1949 the Madrid-based Librería Clan published her book Arquitecturas with an essay by Jean Cassou. The exhibitions dedicated to the movements of the historical avant-garde held at Galería Multitud in Madrid during the 1970s reintroduced her work into the canon of 20th century art.