Dora Maar au Chat
Dora Maar at Chat (English: Dora Maar with Cat) is a 1941 painting by Pablo Picasso. The painting, which measures 50.5 inches by 37.5 inches, depicts Dora Maar, Picasso’s Croatian mistress, sitting on a chair with a small cat perched on her shoulder. History
Picasso fell in love with 36 year old Marr when he was 55 and soon moved in with her.
Picasso was known to refer to her as his ‘private muse’.
The painting was done in 1941, during the time the Nazis were occupying France.
The painting was obtained by Chicago collectors Leigh and Mary Block some time during the 1940s. The Blocks sold the painting in 1963 after which, it was not shown until the 21st century.
In 2005, the Gidwitz family of Chicago, at that time the owners of the painting, decided to auction it with Sotheby’s. It is believed that Sotheby’s had given the sellers a guarantee that the minimum amount the painting would sell for would be $53 million.
The auction was held on 3rd May, 2005 in Sotheby’s New York salesroom. The final bid was $95,216,000 well exceeding the pre-auction $50,000,000 estimate.
Picasso’s relationship with Maar
Picasso met Dora Maar, a surrealist photographer, in 1935. At this time, Picasso was still involved with Marie-Therese Walter and still married to Olga Khokhlova.
By 1937, Marr was considered Picasso’s primary mistress. It has been claimed that Picasso’s relationship with Maar was more of an intellectual partnership than his previous relationship. as Marr was an artist with intellectual and political concerns, much like Picasso.
Picasso once admitted that for him, Maar had become the personification of war as he painted her many times during World War II.
Maar kept many of Piccaso’s portraits of her for herself until she died in 1997.
She suffered Picasso’s moods during their love affair and hated it when Picasso found a new lover, Francoise Gilot, in 1943. Maar and Picasso’s love affair ended in 1944 and Picasso left her a drawing of 1915 as a good-bye gift.
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