Dora Maar has perhaps not received the recognition she deserved due to her relationship with Pablo Picasso, one of whose many portraits of her is on show at Tate Modern’s extensive reappraisal of her work, from her change in direction and identity from the artist-painter Henrietta Theodora Markovitch to the photographer Dora Maar in 1932 until her death in 1997.
Dora Maar came from a creative family with her mother owning a fashion boutique and her architect being an architect. While she returned to painting later in her career, it is her photography which stands out, from the early portraits and fashion shoots to images of people breaking free of the effects of the 1930′s Depression in Paris, London and Barcelona, her record of Picasso creating his masterpiece ‘Guernica’ and the highlights of her Surrealistic images – to then, finally, another highlight – her experiments in the 1980′s with camera-less photography.
Her return to painting following her separation from Picasso in 1943 had mixed results, with her best work in the early years as she continued her explored Surrealism, but less successful when she moved into landscapes. Her return to photography at the end of her career brought her back to where she started in 1932.