Monday, December 15, 2008

Dora Maar au Chat

Dora Maar au Chat
It was painted in 1941 by Pablo Picasso. It depicts Dora Maar, the painter’s Croatian mistress, seated on a chair with small cat perched on her shoulder. Dora Maar au Chat fetched $95.2 million in 2006.

The canvas was one of many portraits of Dora Maar painted by Pablo Picasso over their nearly decade long relationship. Picasso fell in love with Dora Maar at the age of 55 and soon began living with her. Picasso painted Maar many times during their relationship began 1936, when she was making a name for herself as a surrealist photographer.

Maar — herself an exhibited artist, a poet and well-known photographer — is loved, admired, but also shamed and disgraced by Picasso. She is portrayed sometimes as a beautiful lady, and often in a hostile manner — as melancholic, and even as an insane woman with a contorted face, unnatural eyes, and wild postures.

This painting was done during the year 1941, when the Nazis were occupying France. In the 1940s, the painting was obtained by Chicago collectors Leigh and Mary Block. They sold the painting in 1963. Before that, the first recorded owner of "Dora Maar au Chat" was the Surrealist dealer Pierre Colle, who was related professionally with Picasso in the years prior to the war.

During 2005 and 2006, the Dora Maar au Chat, then owned by Gidwitz family of Chicago, was shown worldwide as part of Sotheby's exhibitions in London, Hong Kong and New York. It came up for sale in an auction of impressionist works held at Sotheby's on May 3, 2006 in New York. An anonymous bidder present at the New York auction won the work with a final bid of 95,216,000 $ well exceeding the pre-auction 50,000,000 $ estimates.
Dora Maar au Chat
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