When Paul Eluard introduced Dora Maar to Picasso in 1935, at the Deux Magots café in Paris, she was a renowned photographer. She became his friend, partner and muse. It was one of the darkest periods in Picasso's work, marked by the Spanish Civil War and Second World War.
Each period in Picasso's life insprired new research in him, feeding his creativity and imagination. The Dora Maar period was no exception. In those troubled times, this beautiful woman took on, by turns, the appearance of The Weeping Woman, or Seated Woman or Woman in Hat, becoming the focus for all these metamorphoses, from the most classical of portraits to the most surreal.
Dora Maar will always be « The Weeping Woman » of 1937.
Picasso said of Dora Maar : « To me she is a weeping woman . For years I have painted her in tortured forms, not out of sadism or pleasure. I could only reproduce the vision that came to me, that of the deeply-rooted truth of Dora ».
Aquatint : Goya was the first to use it to translate his nightmarish visions with even more vigour and spontaneity. The Romantic painters found in it the ideal means of portraying the atmosphere of a landscape, and Rouault used it to set, in the manner of a stained-glassed window, the colours of his mystical images, with a large and powerful brushstroke of wash aquatint.
For Picasso, this process became the element of choice, capable of associating an incredible variety of techniques to engrave, to bite and scratch, all used with a simmering passion and the resulting image always combining playfulness and serenity.
Picasso loved using aquatint as the tones obtained could be superimposed on several marked plates of the same dimension to transcribe, during printing, an infinite variety of colour hues. Aquatint wash added a poetic, tactile and living dimension to the brushstroke.
Galerie 27, Paris (Lionel Prejger)
Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, Seattle Art Museum, October 8 2010 - January 17, 2011 and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, February 19 - May 15 2011, reproduced p.164 (n° d'inventaire MP 2863)
Brigitte Baer, Picasso peintre-graveur. Tome III, 1935-1945, Editions Kornfeld, 1985, n°650, repr. p. 185. Georges Bloch, Pablo Picasso, Catalogue de l'œuvre gravé et lithographié, Vol. I, 1904-1967, Berne, Kornfeld & Klipstein Editions, 1968, n° 1340. Reproduced in full page in colors p. 41