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Dora Maar

France Born in: 1907 Famous artist

Behind every great man is a great woman. In Picasso's case there are women, including Dora Maar, who was once his muse. 

While her affair with the Spanish painter was very well known amongst the general public, her individual talent has been gradually brought to light, much to our delight. 


Born in Paris in 1907, Henriette Dora Markovitch was the daughter of Croatian architect Joseph Markovitch and Louise-Julie Voisin. She spent her childhood in Buenos Aires and returned to France at the end of the 1920s to study photography and attend classes at the École des Beaux-Arts. It was at this time that she met Henri Cartier-Bresson. Having taken the pseudonym Dora Maar, she moved to Barcelona and then London.


Back in Paris and very politically engaged, she opened her studio and moved in artistic and intellectual circles. In 1935, Dora Maar worked as a photographer on a film by Jean Renoir. It was here that Paul Éluard introduced her to Pablo Picasso, and thus began their nine-year affair. During this affair, she posed for the painter and took part in the creation of Guernica, of which she photographed each stage of production. 


She then turned to the world of painting, following the Cubist movement, and gradually abandoned photography. Her style really came into its own after her separation from Picasso in 1946 and her occasional escapes to Vaucluse. However, suffering from depression, she received electroshock therapy from Jacques Lacan. Following this her work became darker and more figurative, such as the Portrait of Éluard and the Self-Portrait of a Child. 


Dora Maar's paintings and drawings remained almost unknown until her death in 1997. It was only during a posthumous sale in 1999 that the public became aware of her incredibly rich and hitherto unseen body of work.


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