21 April 2016, The Tablet

Picasso’s weeping woman


Anyone planning a series on the tricky love lives of artists will never be short of material. And so it proves with a new 10-parter, Artists In Love (beginning 18 April). Future episodes will deal with Salvador Dali and Gala, Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe and several others. But the series started with Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar.

Presented by the actor Samantha Morton, and made by an Italian team, the programme told us repeatedly that this was a relationship of rare intensity: the only one in Picasso’s libidinous life where his partner had creative gifts that could be compared to his own. Maar was a fine photographer, a creator of street shots, portraits, surrealist works and, to pay the bills, advertising images.

Their paths crossed on the set of a Jean Renoir film, and then she tracked him down in Paris to the Café Les Deux Magots on the Left Bank, where she sat on a neighbouring table, idly stabbing a penknife between her fingers, occasionally miscalculating and drawing blood.

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