Pablo Picasso: Hidden Photos Reveal the Artistic Talent of His Lover and Muse | Pablo Picasso

For many, she is The Weeping Woman, the weeping woman whose anguish was depicted in a series of paintings by Pablo Picasso, of whom she was both mistress and muse.

In truth, Dora Maar, the model in the paintings, was an artist in her own right before she met the lover who would cast a shadow over her life and work.

Now, a collection of mostly unknown and never-before-seen photos by Maar that capture a landmark moment in European art and history – including shots of Picasso – and which would later inspire his own surrealist paintings will go on sale. in Paris on Monday.

Around 750 images, many personal and taken during his years with the Surrealists in Paris in the 1920s to late 1940s, are up for auction, including several by Picasso – including a reportage of his work on his masterpiece. anti-war work Guernica – as well as images of him at home, in his studio and relaxing with friends on the French Riviera. In one, the artist is seated in an armchair carved from the trunk of an olive tree. Another shows a shirtless Picasso under a parasol in Antibes in the mid-1930s.

It was Maar’s depressingly familiar fate as a female artist who will be remembered primarily as one of Picasso’s despised lovers.

Born in 1907 Henriette Théordora Markovitch, to a French mother who owned a fashion boutique and a Croatian architect father, Maar was a talented photographer and painter. She began her career photographing models then turned to advertising. His photos of street children in Paris echo those later made famous by Robert Doisneau and Marilyn Stafford.

Las Ramblas Barcelona in 1933. Photography: Dora Maar/Courtesy of Artcurial

In 1936 Maar, who then had his own photography studio, met Picasso in Paris – he was nearly three decades her senior – and became his lover and muse. At the time, the Spanish-born artist had a long-standing relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter, the mother of his daughter Maya, and reportedly enjoyed pitting the two women against each other, staying with Walter throughout his affair. with Marar.

For the next nine years, Maar created her own images, but also chronicled her lover’s life and work, capturing his progress on Guernica in 1937 and even painting a small part of the canvas. The auction also includes photographs of Picasso sculptures, including The Woman in the Vase and Woman’s Head, presented at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1937.

Maar’s photos of the Surrealist group centered on pre-war Paris, which included photographers Man Ray and Jean Cocteau for whom she also posed, André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Alberto Giacometti, Méret Oppenheim, Paul Éluard and Lee Miller , have featured in books and exhibitions. Some of the images sold will look familiar to you, as they come from the same photo shoots as the published images, but auction house Artcurial says the photographs sold in 400 lots – with the original negative, contact sheet and a modern print – are mostly unreleased and unreleased. The collection also includes self-portraits, nudes including those of Lamba, who was married to Breton, and other images that Maar would later use in his paintings.

As well as capturing a chapter in the history of 20th century art, the grainy photographs of disabled, blind, injured, poor and dispossessed people in Spanish and British cities also document the economic crisis that swept across Europe. pre-war period in the 1930s.

Couple on a fountain in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square in 1934. Photography: Dora Maar/Courtesy of Artcurial

After the war, Maar – who separated from Picasso in 1945 when he left her for artist Françoise Gilot – suffered a brief depression and reportedly underwent electroconvulsive therapy. Although she continued to paint until her death in 1997 at the age of 89, her life was so overshadowed by hers that it took the French newspaper The world 10 days to mark his passing.

“While Dora Maar spent nine years of her life alongside Picasso, she was also superbly successful in creating her own independent and personal work, using a medium that Picasso never embraced: photography. As such, Dora Maar can be considered one of the most original photographers of her time, a true pioneer of the mid-20th century,” said Bruno Jaubert, director of the impressionist and modern art department at Artcurial. Observer.

“Dora Maar had no children, so these negatives have been in the archives of her estate since her death. They were all taken with the Rolleiflex she used and cover 20 years of work. They are of a unusual character and through them we see a side of Dora Maar the artist and photographer, which we do not know.

Although Picasso painted Maar several times, she was unimpressed with his depictions of her. “All [his] my portraits are lies. Not one is Dora Maar,” she once said.

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