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Dora Maar

Page history last edited by Thomas Kutzli 12 years, 4 months ago

Henriette Theodora Markovitch alias Dora Maar (December 22, 1907 – July 16, 1997) was a French photographer and painter, best known for being a lover and muse of Pablo Picasso.



She was born in Tours, Western France, on December 22, 1907. She died 89 years of age in Paris on July 16, 1997. Her father was of Croatian origin, her mother was born in Tourraine, France. Dora grew up in Argentina.


She was famous as a photographer, and also was a painter herself, before she met Picasso. She made herself better known in the world with her photographs of the successive stages of the completion of Guernica that Picasso painted in his workshop on the rue des Grands Augustins, and other photos of Picasso. Together she and Picasso studied printing with Man Ray. Ruth Berlau, photographer too, played a similar role for her lover Bert Brecht.


Picasso met her in January 1936 (when she was 29 years old), at the terrace of the Café Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. The famous poet Paul Eluard, who accompanied him, had to introduce him to this beautiful, sad woman. He was attracted by her beauty and self-mutilation (cutting her fingers and the table - he got her bloody gloves and exhibited them on a shelf in his apartment). She spoke Spanish fluently, so Picasso was even more fascinated. Their relationship lasted nearly nine years.


Dora Maar became the rival of blonde Marie Therèse Walther who had given a daughter named Maya to Picasso. Picasso often painted beautiful sad Dora (she suffered because she was sterile) and called her his "private muse."


Dora Maar kept his paintings for herself until her death in 1997. They were souvenirs for their extraordinary love affair which made her famous forever. For him she was the "woman in tears" in many aspects. She suffered from his moods during their love affair. Also she hated the idea that in 1943 he had found a new lover, Françoise Gilot. Picasso and Paul Elouard sent Dora to their friend, the psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, who treated her with psychoanalysis. In Paris, still occupied by the Germans, Picasso left to her a drawing of 1915 as a good-bye gift in April 1944; it represents Max Jacob his close friend who had just died in the transit camp of Drancy after his arrest by the Nazis. He also left to her some still lifes and a house at Ménerbes in Provence.

(from Wikipedia)



"'There were five factors,' Maar said, 'that determined his way of life and likewise his style: the woman with whom he was in love; the poet, or poets, who served as a catalyst; the place where he lived; the circle of friends who provided the admiration and understanding of which he never had enough; and the dog who was his inseparable companion." These factors began to come together in May 1904, when Picasso moved into 13 rue Ravignan, a dilapidated tenement in the Montmartre district affectionately known as the Bateau Lavoir. By midsummer of 1907 he had produced Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the painting that brought art into the twentieth century. Whereas many of Picasso's artist and literary friends had already achieved some notoriety in their own right and greatly respected his artistic acumen, none of them was prepared for what emerged from his atelier that July."

(Einstein Picasso)


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