Dora Maar was much more than Pablo Picasso's lover or muse. She was a respected artist, long before their affair. The Artcurial auction house is paying tribute to her photographic work through a major sale, taking place in June in Paris.
Many art lovers know her only as the "Weeping Woman," a woman that Pablo Picasso painted "in tortured forms, not through sadism, and not with pleasure either," the artist once said. However, Dora Maar was a skilled photographer, trained by Brassaï and Man Ray. Proof can be seen in the 750 photographs that Artcurial will auction on June 27 and 28.
These photographs trace the career of the French artist, born Henriette Theodora Markovitch, from the late 1920s to the late 1940s. She worked on themes dear to her, such as Surrealism and the avant-garde, but also portraiture and street scenes of a social nature. "Bouquiniste" is one such shot. This vintage gelatin silver print, accompanied by its original negative, is estimated to fetch between €1,000 and €1,500.
Other photographs for sale highlight the admiration that Dora Maar had for Pablo Picasso, through portraits of the Spanish painter, mostly not known to the general public. One of them, entitled "Pablo Picasso dans un fauteuil en tronc d'olivier," is estimated at between €2,500 and €3,000. Legend has it that Picasso and Dora Maar met in 1935 at the Parisian café Les Deux Magots, while the 28-year-old was playing with her pocketknife. Their encounter led to an affair lasting nearly eight years, during which the photographer abandoned her art for painting. However, she still captured all the stages in the creation of "Guernica," as evidenced by one shot in the sale, estimated to fetch between €2,000 and €3,000.
These negatives and period contact prints will go under the hammer in the " Dora Maar, unpublished, photographic collections " sale. All of the 400 lots on offer come from the estate of Dora Maar. They will be exhibited and presented to the public for the very first time from June 21 to 26, in Artcurial's Paris galleries.