Dora Maar

20 November 2019 – 15 March 2020
Tate Modern | London, UK
Dora Maar (1907-1997), Untitled (Hand-Shell) 1934
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper. Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris. Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

Featuring over 200 works, this is the first UK retrospective dedicated to Dora Maar (1907–97) whose provocative photographs and photomontages became celebrated icons of surrealism. The exhibition focuses on some key aspects of her practice and presents a selection of post-war gestural abstract paintings as well as camera-less photographs which have, until now, remained little known.

Maar had an eye for the unusual and she developed an innovative approach to constructing images through staging, photomontage and collage. If she translated it in her commercial commissions, her street photography also captured the harsh reality of life during the 1930s economic depression in Europe.

Her eight-year tumultuous relationship with Picasso (1935-43) had a profound effect on their lives and careers. Together they made a series of portraits that combined experimental photographic and printmaking techniques.

After 1945, she gradually withdrew from artistic circles and her life became shrouded in mystery and speculation. The exhibition concludes with a substantial group of camera-less photographs that she made in the 1980s when she returned to her darkroom four decades after abandoning the medium.