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Exploring the breadth of Dora Maar’s long career in the context of work by her contemporaries, this is the largest retrospective of her work ever held in the UK.

During the 1930s, Dora Maar’s (1907-1971) provocative photomontages became celebrated icons of surrealism. An active member of left-wing revolutionary groups led by artists and intellectuals she shared these politics with the surrealists, becoming one of the few photographers to be included in the movement’s exhibitions and publications. Reflecting this, her street photography from this time shot in Barcelona, Paris and London captured the reality of life during Europe’s economic depression.

In 1935, Maar met Pablo Picasso and their relationship had a profound effect on both their careers. She documented the creation of his most political work, Guernica (1937) and he immortalised her as Weeping Woman (1937). Together they made a series of portraits combining experimental photographic and printmaking techniques. In middle and later life Maar withdrew from photography. She concentrated on painting and found stimulation and solace in poetry, religion, and philosophy, returning to her darkroom only in her seventies.

Featuring over 200 works from a career spanning more than six decades, this exhibition shows how Maar’s eye for the unusual also translated to her commercial commissions, social documentary photographs, and paintings – key aspects of her practice which have, until now, remained little known.


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