Although a well-known figure in photography, Dora Maar's one of the few legends that are yet given the proper veneration. Starting 5 June, the Centre Pompidou writes art history as it will hold the largest retrospective to Maar in Paris in the showcase, Dora Maar.
Henriette Théodora Markovitch, now known as Dora Maar came from a bourgeois family and spent her childhood years in Argentina where her father worked as an architect. Maar's artistic beginnings started when she enrolled in an applied arts school for women, known as the Comité des Dames. She studied painting and took courses at the Julian Academy, although uncertain in pursuing a career in painting. Shen moved to study at the City of Paris School of Photography in the late 1920s. From here on, Maar became affiliated with empowered and ambitious women artists who aimed for higher statuses in the arts.
Maar received her first commissions and opened a studio in 1931, specializing in portraiture, fashion and advertising. Some of her early works are seen in including Beauté magazine, Excelsior Modes, Femina, Le Figaro illustré, and Heim. At the time, Maar distinguished her style of photography as a style of "playing with light, [of] forcing the shadows not to frown," according to art critic Jacques Guenne. Eventually, Maar encountered the Surrealists, sharing the antifascist cause and ideologies in her art. Maar became a household name in major surrealist exhibitions and displays, along with Man Ray, Hans Bellmer.Guenne further shared:
"So attentive as she is to study the material of a few select objects, flowers, seashells, all the fruits of the land and the sea, Dora Markovitch is even more attracted to street performances."
Apart from being a Surrealist, Maar is an experimentalist. Her encounter with the painter Pablo Picasso gave her the opportunity to further get in touch with her artistic exploration. Her interest in painting also resurfaced.
After the war, Maar's visibility in the artistic community gradually decreased, spending her remaining years unknown. Maar did return to photography in the 1980's, forty years after abandoning it. Although cameraless, she finally reconciled painting and photography through photograms.
The Centre Pompidou will display nearly 500 works and documents from more than 90 lenders and museum archives and will run through 11 July.
Images are with permission from the Centre Pompidou. For more information, visit the centre's website.
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