Dora Maar would probably have been remembered as the most well known of Pablo Picasso’s mistresses, however a growing interest in this most fascinating artist has seen her own work being reassessed by the art world. A new book on her life Dora Maar: Paris in the Time of Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, and Picasso has recently been published and a major exhibition of her work is currently being planned for the Pompidou Centre 2019, subsequently travelling to Los Angeles’s Getty Centre.
Having trained as a painter, Maar was a vivacious intellectual, political activist, gifted visual artist, and charismatic beauty adored by the Surrealists, photographed by Man Ray, sketched by Cocteau, and an inspiration for André Breton’s ‘Gallery Gradiva’. At the age of 28 she met the 54 year old Picasso, having already established her reputation as an experimental photographer. For the next nine years Maar and Picasso led a turbulent romantic affair, Maar proving helpful in more practical matters; finding Picasso the legendary studio in the rue des Grands-Augustins where he painted Guernica. As the work progressed, Maar photographed each of its key stages, thus providing an invaluable record of its development.
Maar outlived Picasso by 24 years, and nine years after her death, Picasso’s “Dora Maar au Chat” was auctioned for $95.2 million, making it one of the world’s most expensive paintings sold at auction.