She has gone down in his history as the muse who was almost Picasso's match, but a new show in Paris tries to drag Dora Maar out from under his shadow.
The huge retrospective at the Pompidou Centre -- which will transfer to London's Tate Modern in November -- portrays Maar as a leading surrealist who had a sparkling career in her own right before she met Picasso. Indeed, it was she who first took him as a model when she got Picasso to pose before her camera in her Paris studio in 1935.
Picasso was going through what he called 'the most difficult period of (his) life' at the time, having not painted for several months. Their tumultuous nine-year affair, conducted almost entirely in Spanish, began in 1936 and helped rekindle his creative spark.
From the start 'they began painting each other', said Damarice Amao, one of the curators of the show, with Picasso urging her to swap her camera for a paintbrush.'Inside every photographer is a painter trying to get out,' he declared dismissively.The pair collaborated on his masterpiece 'Guernica', with Dora photographing the black and white anti-war work at every stage of its development and Picasso using her images to develop the enormous canvass.
'The Weeping Woman' portraits of her also came out of their work on 'Guernica', but they would later come to define the way the macho Spanish artist used and abused her, playing her off against his partner Marie-Therese Walter, whom he never left.Yet from 1936 onwards Maar became Picasso's most important model and muse, with some 60 works based around her. The Pompidou show, however, is at pains to avoid the 'm' words.
Leave Your Comments