Dora Maar  (1907 – 1997) 

Dora Maar, born Henrietta _eodora Markovitch was a French photographer and Surrealist artist whose career is often overshadowed by her relationship with Pablo Picasso. The value of her work is still being fully realized years after her death.

Maar was born in Paris in 1907 but spent her childhood in Buenos Aires, where her father was employed as an architect. She returned to Paris in 1926 and studied art at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, the École de Photographie, the Académie Julian, and the atelier of André Lhote. In the early 1930s, she began to pursue a career in photography. She adopted the professional name Dora Maar. In the early years of her career, Maar worked in the fashion and advertising industries. She also photographed street scenes and served as a still photographer on the set for Jean Renoir’s film Le Crime de Monsieur Lange.

By 1935 Maar was associated with the Surrealist circle and had strong ties to André Breton, Paul Éluard, and Georges Bataille. She photographed many of the Surrealists and exhibited with them. Her work began to take on more of the absurdist and dreamlike qualities characteristic of Surrealism. She made dark photomontages composed of disturbing and ambiguous juxtapositions. The Portrait of Ubu, a monstrous close-up image by Maar, became an icon of the movement.

Maar and Picasso entered a relationship in 1936. She photographed him often, and her pictures of him creating his epic work Guernica became important visual documents related to that painting. _roughout their relationship, Picasso painted Maar numerous times. In the late 1930s, Maar returned to painting and painted a portrait of Picasso in the colorful disjointed Cubist style known by then to be his signature. Maar and Picasso ended their relationship in 1946, after which, Maar began exhibiting frequently.
After her separation from Picasso, Maar suffered from anxiety and depression and underwent treatment with the help of Éluard, who had remained a close friend. Eventually, Maar turned to Roman Catholicism and Mysticism, and though she continued her endeavors of painting and photography she mostly secluded herself from society. After almost 25 years of reclusion, Dora Maar’s work was reintroduced in 1990 with “Dora Maar: Oeuvres Anciennes,” an exhibition of her photographs and paintings at Marcel Fleiss’s Galerie 1900–2000 in Paris. A major exhibition followed in 1995 in Valencia, Spain. Dora Maar died in 1997 in her apartment in Rue de Savoie, Paris, at the age of 89 years old.