Dora Maar: Contextualizing Picasso’s Muse

Laura Felleman Fattal


Henrietta Theodora Markovitch (1907-1997) abbreviated her name to Dora Maar in the 1930s working as a Surrealist photographer and painter. She was born in Paris, France to a Jewish Croatian father and a Catholic French mother. After spending her childhood in Argentina, she returned to France studying in various ateliers. Dora Maar was Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) muse from 1936-1944. Past art historical research has obliquely referenced her Jewish background when it was central to a contextual critique of Picasso’s pre-war and wartime paintings of Dora Maar. Picasso’s numerous and revelatory portraits of Dora Maar reflect her prescient understanding and personal distress of the escalating fascist threat and growing anti-Semitism in Europe in the late 1930s and early 1940s. 

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