Dora Maar: Behind the Lens – In Pictures


Dora Maar: Behind the Lens emphasises the titular artist’s photographic talent and experimental flair. We invited the founder of Amar Gallery, Amar Singh, to talk us through some of his favourite works from the show…

A recently opened exhibition at London’s Amar Gallery, which seeks to champion ‘overlooked female, minority, and LGBT+ artists,’ Dora Maar: Behind the Lens tells the story of Maar as – first and foremost – a pioneering surrealist photographer and artist. I say first and foremost, because, until relatively recently Maar was, perhaps, most frequently discussed in terms of her association, as lover and muse, with Picasso – who had discouraged her interest in photography.

As author of forthcoming book, The Paris Muse, Louisa Treger has observed: “Dora Maar is mostly known for being Picasso’s Weeping Woman as though tears are the only interesting thing about her.” As her work powerfully illustrates, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Experimental and daring, the French-Croatian artist (Maar, never one to be pinned down, was also a photographer and poet) challenged both prevailing thought and the medium of photography, producing a body of work that included photograms, portraiture, documentary and photomontage.

Here, Amar Singh selects works in the exhibition that add to the story of Dora Maar.

Woman with Hands in hair (below) is an incredibly rare work as it is a negative from the 1930s which Dora Maar revisited and reworked in the 1980s. It is an artwork spanning half a century.

Pic 1

This photogram ‘abstract composition’ employs three artistic techniques: photogram, etching & collage. This trinity really forms a captivating artwork which is both meditative and sensual.

Pic 2

Dora Maar’s 1937 photograph of Guernica, with Picasso’s paint pots on the floor is the epitome of art history. Maar was the only official photographer and even painted the horse alongside Picasso.

Pic 3

Dora Maar’s 1935 self portrait blends light and darkness in a poetic way which capture the artist’s spirit in the 30s: resilient and strong. It saddens me how this strength eroded as her relationship with Picasso progressed.

Pic 4

This abstract photogram by Dora Maar is haunting and it really exemplifies how gifted she was in mastering her craft.

Pic 5

As told to Mike Pinnington

Dora Maar: Behind the Lens continues at Amar Gallery until 18 August. For more info, visit the Amar Gallery website 

Images, from top: Abstract Compositions (Virgin and Crucifix) c. 1980 Unique Photogram Dora Maar Estate;  Woman with hands in hair c. 1935/1980 Unique Vintage gelatin silver negative Dora Maar Estate; Abstract Composition c. 1980 Unique Photogram and Watercolour Dora Maar Estate; Guernica c. 1937 (printed later by the estate) Gelatin Silver Print (edition of 5) Dora Maar Estate; Self Portrait c. 1935 (printed later by the estate) Gelatin Silver Print (edition of 5) Dora Maar Estate; Abstract Compositions (Virgin and Crucifix) c. 1980 Unique Photogram Dora Maar Estate

Posted on 26/06/2024 by thedoublenegative