Henriette Theodora Markovitch, better known as Dora Maar, was a French photographer and painter. This artist, of a Croatian father (architect) and a French mother (violinist), was born in Paris in 1907 and died in the same city on July 16, 1997, at the age of 89. Dora Maar spent her childhood and youth in Argentina, a Latin American country where her father worked as an architect for 20 years.

The history of Dora Maar as an artist, in a certain way, has remained under the shadow of Picasso, whose lover she was ─turbulent relationship, by the way─, and at the same time the most influential of his muses, model of the most emblematic portraits made by the artist from Malaga, although she also left photographic evidence of the process of creating one of the most impressive works by Picasso, Guernica. When Dora Maar met Picasso, in 1935, he was already an internationally recognized artist, and she was famous in France for her remarkable and talented photographic work.

1. Dora Maar. Los años nos acechan
But the intention on this occasion is to see Dora Maar beyond Picasso, to distinguish her as an artist, particularly as a photographer, a discipline in which she stood out the most. Returning to Paris from Argentina in 1926, she studied art at the Union des Arts Décoratifs, at the École Internationale de Photographie, at the Académie Julian and at the workshop of the artist André Lhote. She also was a friend of two great photographers: Brassaï, of Hungarian origin, and Cartier-Bresson, French, both photojournalists.
In the early 1930s she began photography and adopted the artistic name Dora Maar. In the first years of her career, she worked as a photographer in the fashion and advertising industry, but her compositions were already beginning to announce a personal style. Likewise, she made photo reports of humble Parisian urban life and also worked as a photographer in the making of a film: The Crime of Monsieur Lange.
2. Dora Mano saliendo de una concha
Dora Maar had extensive intellectual and artistic training that allowed her to interact with the avant-garde groups of the first three decades of the 20th century. By 1935, Maar was part of the surrealist group, with whom she exhibited several times; One of the most important exhibitions was Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, held in New York in 1936. She even had close ties with André Breton and Paul Éluard, prominent figures of Surrealism.
From her relationship with this movement, Maar's photography began to be freer and more experimental, moving towards the surrealist language, undoubtedly, whose aesthetic principles consist of freeing art from reason, from logic, giving preeminence to the absurd, to the unusual, to the unconscious and to the dream world, where dreams and nightmares are the fundamental resources for the creation of another reality (1) (2).
3. Dora Maar. Portrait d'Ubu
Based on these aesthetic postulates, her sensibility, imagination and creativity, Maar produced a series of photographs using the technical procedure of photomontage, collage, rayogram, and overprints. She conceived a composition entitled Portrait d'Ubu (3), from 1936, which consists of a disturbing, confused, and grotesque image, similar to an armadillo fetus, which became an icon of the surrealist movement. In addition to the dreamlike, the distorted, hallucinating reality, and absurd staging, Maar's photographs are characterized by being contrasted, with unusual angles and a dramatic accent.
While Dora Maar was with Picasso, she stopped doing surrealist photography and devoted herself to painting. After their breakup, in 1944, Dora is affected by nervous disorders and emotional disturbances, and ends up confined in a sanatorium. After leaving that place, she withdraws from the social world, isolates herself, and voluntarily secludes herself at home, where she resumes her artistic activity, paints for a time, and later returns to her photographic activity, until July 16, 1997, when she dies, and it is said that no more than 6 people attended her funeral.
Ileana Rincón-Cañas. White Dreams


Written by José Gregorio Noroño,

 Arte Original.

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