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 Dora Maar  (1909 - 1997)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: abstract, genre, figure

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Ad Code: 2
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
PORTRAIT DE PABLO PICASSO
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from MB Fine Art, LLC:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Although she was well known as a friend, model and "muse" of Picasso, it is often forgotten that Dora Maar herself was a successful artist. Long before her yearlong liaison with Picasso, she had produced an outstanding and comprehensive collection of photography and was an important artist.

Nevertheless, the relationship with Picasso, the character and disposition of the person Dora Maar and her personality as a woman, both in publications about Picasso and in the few that are dedicated to her, assume an unusually great significance in art-history literature. Naturally, the person and the artist Dora Maar are inextricably interlinked. For example, her close link to the Surrealists can be ascribed equally to her much described enigmatic and unapproachable radiance and to the artistic statement that characterizes her photographs and photomontages since the early 1930s.

Born on 22 November 1907 as the daughter of Joseph Markovitch from Yugoslavia and the Frenchwoman Julie Voisin, Henrietta Theodora Markovitch called herself Dora Maar ever since the first years of her photography career. She grew up in Buenos Aires and Paris, learnt to speak French, Spanish and English fluently, and from 1927 on attended the renowned private art academy of von Andre Lhote at Montparnasse. Here she was still a student of painting, but at the end of the 1920s, she changed to the Ecole de Photographie de la Ville de Paris and, in the early 1930s, founded a photographic studio together with Pierre Kfer, who was later to make a career as stage designer. Numerous fashion and advertising photographs resulted. These were soon followed by the first exhibitions of her own works in Paris galleries.

Dora Maar's photographic style in her productive years of the 1930s has clear, surrealist characteristics. In her photographs and photomontages, she frequently plays with the shifting of proportions, thus echoing an important feature of surrealist pictures. This is augmented by the unreal combination of disparate objects, which robs the photographs of their character of reflecting extreme reality and makes them into representations of inner visions and psychic states. In parallel to these surreal photographs, Dora Maar produced sobering documentations of her urbane environment in Paris, London or Barcelona. Again and again, she records the underprivileged class of the unemployed and homeless, the socially or physically weak in her photographs. It was precisely the simplicity of the photos that enabled Dora Maar to give the day-to-day and the ugly a magnificent monstrosity in which the beautiful and the horrible blend into one another. The recorded reality is thus accompanied by a level of inner associations, fears and visions.

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