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Picasso und Dora Maar

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This fresh and vivid portrait of the postwar Paris art world, written by a member of Picasso’s circle, sheds original new light on the greatest of modern artists and on the most important and least-known of his loves, the alluring and formidable photographer and painter Dora Maar.


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This fresh and vivid portrait of the postwar Paris art world, written by a member of Picasso’s circle, sheds original new light on the greatest of modern artists and on the most important and least-known of his loves, the alluring and formidable photographer and painter Dora Maar.

30 review for Picasso und Dora Maar

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book did what a great book is supposed to do, transport you to another place and another time, allow you to escape life but also to get closer to life’s experiences, and maybe learn some history in the process. I fell right into this account of Lord’s post WWII relationships with Picasso and Dora. Picasso’s art is well known but I had only a fleeting sense of him as a person. This was a great personal account of him, but this book is really about Lord and his relationship with Dora. I reall This book did what a great book is supposed to do, transport you to another place and another time, allow you to escape life but also to get closer to life’s experiences, and maybe learn some history in the process. I fell right into this account of Lord’s post WWII relationships with Picasso and Dora. Picasso’s art is well known but I had only a fleeting sense of him as a person. This was a great personal account of him, but this book is really about Lord and his relationship with Dora. I really enjoyed feeling immersed in 1950’s French society and the social and political issues of this time period. There are a lot of themes here to explore. This book was an unexpected find, gifted to me by a friend.

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Literary Chick

    A well written, if at times petulant betrayal of the intensely private Dora Maar by the self-important, hanger-on James Lord.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charles Stephen

    I only read this work to find out more about James Lord--not to learn more about Picasso or his mistress, Dora Maar. I was not disappointed. There was so much to find appealing in Lord's representation of himself in his obsession with Picasso and his former mistress. Like so many gay Americans of the 20th century, Lord was one mixed-up cookie throughout a large portion of his life. Seemingly, he tells the truth about his pursuit of these friendships, even when they makes him look pathetic, or co I only read this work to find out more about James Lord--not to learn more about Picasso or his mistress, Dora Maar. I was not disappointed. There was so much to find appealing in Lord's representation of himself in his obsession with Picasso and his former mistress. Like so many gay Americans of the 20th century, Lord was one mixed-up cookie throughout a large portion of his life. Seemingly, he tells the truth about his pursuit of these friendships, even when they makes him look pathetic, or confused, or sycophantic. For example, he passed up the chance to spend a summer in Sweden with his boyfriend, a Scandinavian Adonis, to spend the weeks isolated with Dora Maar in her tumbled-down pile of a country house. Even if his motivations are puzzling, his honesty is always refreshing and, at times, it hits the reader like a lightning bolt. One of the most remarkable vignettes was about Lord's ingenuity at the age of 30 in getting American funds to preserve Cezanne's studio in Provence as a public trust. I was less impressed with his trips to Greece and Egypt to haggle for antiquities. He resold most of them for a profit back in Paris or in the U.S. as a means of income in the decades when he was trying to establish himself as a novelist. Such trading in antiquities is surely illegal today. There is a remarkable meeting from 1964 late in the memoir. Lord was visited for the first time by Francoise Gilot, the mistress who had supplanted Dora in Picasso's affections and subsequently gave him two (more) children. Gilot had written her own blockbuster in 1964 called Life With Picasso, and she was able to fill in for Lord many answers to questions he had about his own relationship with Picasso that had begun in Paris two decades before, during the closing days of World War II. In that early period Lord had once told a gallery owner that he was Picasso's son! (This same vignette also appeared in My Queer War.) It seemed that young Lord's ego had become inflated by his access to the great artist's circle of friends. The 1964 meeting with Gilot gave Lord a context in which to understand how he had gained access in the first place. Gilot assured him that Picasso did consider him like a son. Lord used this vignette almost like a climax to a plot-driven narrative, for everything that follows it is like falling action, or like tying up loose threads before a conclusion. Lord was close to Dora Maar for a decade and people assumed they were lovers. In this memoir, though, Lord made it clear that their relationship was platonic, although he often contemplated what it would have been like to cross that line of intimacy. One sure lesson that Lord learned from Dora was obsessive control over what would be written about him after his death. If one searches "James Lord" on the internet, the pickings are lean. You literally must read his oeuvre to get not only his full story but the pictorial representation of his life. I admire that. Thus I'm not tired yet of reading Lord's memoirs. Oh, there's some repetition of incidents, but every volume is yielding fascinating nuggets. First, I read My Queer War, his posthumous memoir of being an enlisted gay man in the army in World War II. Then I read A Giacometti Portrait, about the 18 sittings he did with his friend, the artist Alberto Giacometti, in 1964 to create two portraits, one on canvas of Lord, the other on paper of the Giacometti's process in creating the portrait. This monograph was the basis of Final Portrait (2018), starring Armie Hammer as Lord. Currently, I'm perusing Plausible Portraits of James Lord, a picture book containing portraits of Lord by a panorama of 20th century European artists, with commentary on each by Lord. Next, I may move on to Six Remarkable Women.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Frank McAdam

    Despite its title, Picasso and Dora is not a dual biography of the two artists, nor even a chronicle of their relationship, but rather author James Lord's memoir of his expatriate youth in France during which time he became acquainted with both Picasso and Maar. Picasso himself makes only a few cameo appearances, but his presence hangs over the narrative and has a profound effect upon Maar's and Lord's somewhat confused relationship. It is Lord's portrayal of Maar that is most problematical. Lor Despite its title, Picasso and Dora is not a dual biography of the two artists, nor even a chronicle of their relationship, but rather author James Lord's memoir of his expatriate youth in France during which time he became acquainted with both Picasso and Maar. Picasso himself makes only a few cameo appearances, but his presence hangs over the narrative and has a profound effect upon Maar's and Lord's somewhat confused relationship. It is Lord's portrayal of Maar that is most problematical. Lord himself was never more than a minor figure on the fringes of the European art scene in the 1950's, and it is doubtful he would ever have been invited to all the lunches and dinners he so lovingly describes - he is constantly dropping names, the more famous the better - if he had not been Maar's companion. Despite his best efforts to present himself as a highly likable if somewhat naïve connoisseur of the arts, he is a devious and ultimately untrustworthy narrator. For example, though he is forever reminding the reader how highly he idealizes Maar, he never misses an opportunity to portray her in a bad light as a miserly, grasping middle-aged woman, eccentric to the point of neurosis. While Maar was one of the most important and highly respected photographers of the Surrealist period, Lord glosses over her involvement with medium in a paragraph or two as if it were some minor phase through which she passed before finally finding fulfillment as the lover of Picasso. Lord also downplays the art Maar created after her split from Picasso and strongly suggests it was never more than mediocre. (Perhaps it was at that, but there is no way of knowing from what little analysis is presented here.) The book contains some interesting anecdotes regarding the artists and collectors Lord met during his time abroad, but it should be read with caution. It is a highly biased account and sometimes seems little more than an excuse for literary revenge on all those, particularly Maar, that the author felt had slighted him.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Craig Masten

    This is a very personal reminiscence of the author's close friendship with first Picasso, beginning when the author was a young soldier after World War Two, and then even more so with the famous artist's rejected model and lover, Dora Maar. Mr. Lord believably writes of a reciprocal intimacy between himself and those two complicated and powerful personalities which continued to the end of their lives. The experience of reading the book seemed akin to reading a private diary, and indeed the book This is a very personal reminiscence of the author's close friendship with first Picasso, beginning when the author was a young soldier after World War Two, and then even more so with the famous artist's rejected model and lover, Dora Maar. Mr. Lord believably writes of a reciprocal intimacy between himself and those two complicated and powerful personalities which continued to the end of their lives. The experience of reading the book seemed akin to reading a private diary, and indeed the book was based on voluminous notes the author kept over those many years. Oftentimes I had the feeling I was intruding on the privacy of the people whose actions and thoughts had been expressed in confidence. The author's own confessional like persona magnified this effect. Although Dora Maar was by far the subject of Mr, Lord's closest attention in the book, a lifetime as an expatriate writer in Paris brought him in contact with many of the characters associated with Picasso's world, who receive considerable mention in the pages too. He is unsparing in his opinions and judgements of everyone, which is redeemed by his no less close examination of himself. You are given a powerful sense of how Picasso profoundly and permanently affected others, as well a vivid rendering of the often fascinating people, places and doings of the mid- century art world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Viktoria

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

  8. 5 out of 5

    Phil Woolway

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

  10. 5 out of 5

    Missy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elmarie Reinke

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bronson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beck

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Cornell

  15. 4 out of 5

    R.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lilla Cseh

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jude Bischoff

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lorri

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michele

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sara Brockman

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maryann Zulueta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lindy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marta Sanchez

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carter Norris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark Moskowitz

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

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