DORA MAAR

 

Dora Maar (1907-1997), whose real name was Theodora Markovic, was born in Tours, France, and spent her childhood in Argentina, where her father, a foreign-born architect, was working. Arriving in Paris around 1925, the young woman was drawn into the world of photography, first as a model for Man Ray and others and then as a photographer.

By 1929, just as Maar was embarking on her career, the New Photography - with its emphasis on directness of vision, on materials, and on the beauty of everyday and mundane objects - was at its height in France. Brassaï recollected Dora Maar in these early days in her long white coat, a true professional already, stalking about her subject as a huntress around her prey as she searched for the most telling detail.

Her images of street life in Barcelona, Paris and London, of the poverty-stricken, the lame, the blind and the down-and-out, mark clearly her interest - personal, artistic and political. The rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s was a great spur and cohesive force to the French Left. With Andre Breton and Georges Bataille urging Maar into the Surrealist movement and encouraging her to paint, she joined the Union of Intellectuals Against Fascism and was active in other anti-Fascist groups.

After fatefully meeting Pablo Picasso, she helped him set up his studio, where in 1937 he painted ''Guernica,'' a process she recorded in photographs. It was during this period that Maar and Picasso began a romantic relationship that would end nine years later. Both artists would be left permanently affected by their decade-long entanglement, with Maar eventually abandoning photography entirely in the 1950s to focus on painting instead.

By the time of her death in 1997, Maar had become a recluse, devoutly dedicated to her religious faith and her painting.

- Adapted from the artist’s New York Times obituary and Dora Maar With And Without Picasso: A Biography, by Mary Ann Caws

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Dora Maar (1907-1997), whose real name was Theodora Markovic, was born in Tours, France, and spent her childhood in Argentina, where her father, a foreign-born architect, was working. Arriving in Paris around 1925, the young woman was drawn into the world of photography, first as a model for Man Ray and others and then as a photographer.

By 1929, just as Maar was embarking on her career, the New Photography - with its emphasis on directness of vision, on materials, and on the beauty of everyday and mundane objects - was at its height in France. Brassaï recollected Dora Maar in these early days in her long white coat, a true professional already, stalking about her subject as a huntress around her prey as she searched for the most telling detail.

Her images of street life in Barcelona, Paris and London, of the poverty-stricken, the lame, the blind and the down-and-out, mark clearly her interest - personal, artistic and political. The rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s was a great spur and cohesive force to the French Left. With Andre Breton and Georges Bataille urging Maar into the Surrealist movement and encouraging her to paint, she joined the Union of Intellectuals Against Fascism and was active in other anti-Fascist groups.

After fatefully meeting Pablo Picasso, she helped him set up his studio, where in 1937 he painted ''Guernica,'' a process she recorded in photographs. It was during this period that Maar and Picasso began a romantic relationship that would end nine years later. Both artists would be left permanently affected by their decade-long entanglement, with Maar eventually abandoning photography entirely in the 1950s to focus on painting instead.

By the time of her death in 1997, Maar had become a recluse, devoutly dedicated to her religious faith and her painting.

- Adapted from the artist’s New York Times obituary and Dora Maar With And Without Picasso: A Biography, by Mary Ann Caws

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