Dora and the Minotaur: My life with Picasso
Dora i Minotaur
The famous French surrealist photographer and painter Dora Maar, or Henrietta Theodore Markovitch as is her real name, died in 1997. Among numerous papers, documents and notebooks written in French, a notebook in Croatian was also found in her apartment in Rue de Savoie 6 in Paris. Croatian was the language of her father, Joseph Markovitch. She spoke it fluently, but rarely used it except when she met her father once a week - as opposed to French, the language of her mother Louise Julie Voisin, which she spoke every day. It is quite possible these notes held particular value for her, and the Croatian language was a connection to her emotional life, which in her case was associated with her father, and not her mother.
In addition to being a photographer, Dora Maar is also known as the muse inspiring Pablo Picasso. As can be expected, her life with Picasso, their separation and traumatic consequences for Dora were a focal point of her notes. But the main topic was her experience of the relationship of the two creative personalities, one being exceptionally dominant. In that sense, it felt appropriate to call this book Dora and the Minotaur, after Picasso’s famous and symbolic drawing from Mougins, dated September 5th 1936.
Some sources claim that it was around 1958 that she started writing undated notes - mainly memories of her meetings with Dr. Jacques Lacan, marked in her diary with the letter A for analysis. The notebook - and this might well be the “Menerbes notebook” mentioned by Dora’s biographers - was sold in 1999 at an auction entitled Dora Maar’s Last Memories. After the death of its anonymous owner, it traced an obscure path to her father’s homeland. Regardless of the fact that this is a fragmented and actually unfinished text, as she herself notes in the 1973 post scriptum, it provides invaluable insight into the creative personalities of both Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso and deserves to be published.
Rights sold to:
Germany, Aufbau Verlag, 2016