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Dora Maar

(1907—1997)


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French photographer and painter, born in Paris as Henriette Theodora Markovitch; her father was a Croatian architect. For many years she was best remembered as the mistress of Picasso and the model for some of his most powerful portraits, including Weeping Woman (1937, Tate). Today her photographs and collages are recognized as important contributions to Surrealism. She made photomontages placing figures in disquieting architectural settings. 29 Rue d'Astorg (c.1936, Pompidou Centre) has a statuette of a seated woman with a bizarrely phallic head within a distorted cloister. Portrait of Ubu (1936) became a kind of mascot for the exhibition of Surrealist objects which was staged in Paris that year. Maar kept the secret of exactly what it represented until her death. The most plausible identification has been an armadillo foetus, but perhaps it should be seen as a representation of Georges Bataille's (another of Maar's lovers) concept of the ‘formless’. In her last years she became a recluse and took to religion saying, ‘After Picasso, only God’.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.


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