The artist and photographer Dora Maar accompanied Pablo Picasso in the most difficult times. The war in Spain, the Second World War ... Dora Maar "cried" in the paintings of the maestro, becoming a symbol of the tragedies of all those who fell in a bloody slaughter-house of the war. She should have been saddened about her creative destiny: it was only recently that “the Muse of Picasso” was spoken of as an independent artist-innovator.
Henrietta Theodore Markovic was born in 1907, in Paris (according to other sources - in Tours). Three years later, her father, a Croatian architect Josip Markovic, took his daughter and wife to Argentina, where the family lived until 1926. After returning to Paris, 19-year-old Dora plunged into the study of the arts. She attended the workshop of the artist Andre Lot, where Henri Cartier-Bresson was studying at the same time; later, like her father, she studied at the School of Fine Arts, studied at the Julian Academy. Painting and photography equally attracted the girl - and the photo won.
In 1931, Dora decisively shortened her last name Markovich to a somewhat pretentious and mysterious Maar. Together with the young designer Pierre Kefer, she was engaged in commercial projects, making a name for herself in the advertising field, and devoted her free time to street photography and avant-garde photos. Things, which can be done today in five minutes in a graphic editor, took a lot of time and courage 90 years ago - Maar and Kefer were able to surprise the customer by introducing the rebellious spirit of surrealism into the projects. In their promotional photos, ships sailed the sea from long female hair, and long, wavy curls poured from oil bottles. In the early 1930s, it was amazing.
Smart, bright and talented, Dora has become one of the stars of the Paris photo avant-garde. A burning brunette with bronze-colored green eyes, she happily posed for the already famous photographer Man Ray, made friends with Jean Cocteau and Andre Breton, and was involved in an affair with a writer Georges Batai which was overgrown with a whole heap of erotic rumors.
In addition to commercial works, Dora experimented a lot, creating complex surrealistic images such as “Simulator” or “Double portrait in a hat”. Dora was very fond of hats that complemented her look, and preferred models of Elsa Schiaparelli. Thin fingers with red long nails usually squeezed a long mouthpiece with a smoldering cigarette. In 1932, her first solo exhibition took place. Then, in 1936, Dora Maar presented her work “Portrait d'Ubu” at the exhibition of the surrealists - and created a sensation. "Portrait d'Ubu" (an image of a newborn armadillo) has become the hallmark of surrealism. Photomontages of Maar embodied what the surrealist leader Andre Breton called "a dizzying descent inward ... a tour of perception in the middle of the forbidden territory."
Soon, Dora Maar was invited to Barcelona, then to London, where she shooted street life, and also worked as a photographer on the set of the film “Crime of Monsieur Lange” by Jean Renoir. It was there, on the set, that Dora Maar first saw Pablo Picasso. The artist, who turned 54 at that time, did not attach much importance to the encounter, but Dora, Dora was impressed - the ingenious, charming maestro, fanned by fame, around him everything began to boil and seethe, Picasso, subdued her heart.
Journalist Jean-Paul Crespel wrote that Dora Maar had figured out how to get the attention of Picasso. She knew that the artist often visited the cafe Les Deux Magots. Crespel described her “serious face, lit by pale blue eyes that looked paler because of her thick eyebrows.” Dora played with a penknife, hitting the table with the point between her fingers. "Sometimes she missed, and a drop of blood appeared between the roses on her black gloves." This surreal story of the first acquaintance of Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso is told very often. Some claim that the gloves were white, and Picasso begged them from Dora and then kept them in a special display case. Others say that Pablo and Dora were introduced by the poet Paul Eluard, who unsuccessfully sought the attention of a beautiful surrealist with a camera. Dora's eye color also varies, not without that. “I also tried to grab his image. Divine face. Full face and side shot in a mixed manner of Picasso. You say, “Picasso?” Yes, Picasso. I do not claim the championship, but I cannot emphasize that I have already employed such a photomontage five or six years before. Overlaying one picture with another, comparing a double female side shot - even then, I was working in the Picasso style. ” Dora Maar
As Picasso said, "art is not chaste, and if it is chaste, then it is not art" - and strictly followed this principle. Pablo and Dora soon became lovers. Maar photographed Picasso in her studio on Astorg Street, but most of the frames were never printed. Nevertheless, the surrealistic photographs of Dora became a source of inspiration for Picasso - he photographed his Muse and created works in a completely new multi-layered technique based on those images. The artist painted portraits on glass, put portrait photographs under them, and put lace or fabrics between them.
We can say that after Dora met Picasso, her career ended. Of course, she still photographed, under the influence of Picasso returned to painting again. However, in the rays of worldwide fame of the maestro, her efforts seemed petty and insignificant. Picasso suppressed his women, subordinated them to his will - and did it surprisingly easily. Instead, he gave them such energy, such a waterfall of sparkling life, that the next Muse could not refuse this source of joy. Dora Maar was fascinated - as before Maria Theresa Walter, and before that - Olga Khokhlova.
Picasso could do anything. He could even allow himself to draw Dora whatever she looked like. Even beautiful and tender. This is the way he saw her in 1937.
The couple spent the summer in the small town of Mougins, not far from Cannes, in the company of Man Ray, Roland Penrose, and his wife, Lee Miller, Andre Breton, and his wife, Jacqueline Lamba. Picasso and Dora were especially close friends with the poet Paul Eluard and his wife Nyush. The sun, the sea, the endless beaches. Picasso and Dora immersed themselves in love and myths of ancient Greece and imagined each other to be the Minotaur, the Neptune, and the Sphinx.
In winter, when called on Dora, Picasso had fun drawing random spots of paint on the walls and turning them into insects. Devastated by the Civil War in Spain, the artist increasingly became involved in politics - and Dora, who openly sympathized with the communists, supported him. In 1937, after the Nazi exhibition "Degenerative Art", it became clear that a big war was only a matter of time. Carefree days were left behind. Picasso began a series of engravings "The Dream and Lie of Franco", after the bombing of the peaceful Basque city of Guernica, he added four more sheets and a poem in which he mourned the tragic events in Spain.