Finding Dora Maar – An Artist, an Address Book, a Life
Brigitte Benkemoun, Jody Gladding, Jody Gladding
Merging biography, memoir, and cultural history, this compelling book, a bestseller in France, traces the life of Dora Maar (1907-1997) through a serendipitous encounter with the artist’s address book
In search of a replacement for his lost Hermes agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds inside private notes dating back to 1951-twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for Balthus, Brassai, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, Leonor Fini, Jacqueline Lamba, and other artistic luminaries of the European avant-garde.
After realizing that the address book belonged to Dora Maar-Picasso’s famous “Weeping Woman” and a brilliant artist in her own right-Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery to learn more about this provocative, passionate, and enigmatic woman, and the role that each of these figures played in her life.
Longlisted for the prestigious literary award Prix Renaudot, Finding Dora Maar is a fascinating and breathtaking portrait of the artist.
“Beautifully written and fascinating.”-Paris Match
“One of the happy surprises of the end of the literary season.”-Livres Hebdo
“A highly moving portrait of the artist.”-Elle (France)
"With a novelist's eye for detail, Benkemoun takes readers on a journey full of surprises as she researches and reimagines the landscape of Dora Maar's life in Surrealism and its aftermath. Guided by the scant details in Maar's address book, which came into the author's hands by chance, she reweaves the mesh of avant-garde artistic life in mid-twentieth-century France, taking us along with her as this serendipitous tale unfolds. It's well worth the trip, an informative, enjoyable read." --Carolyn Burke, author of Lee Miller: A Life; Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury; and other books "Part detective story, part social history, part excellent gossip, Finding Dora Maar uses the miracle of a found address book to reconstruct the life of an important woman artist who knew everyone." --Francine Prose, author of Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern, and the New York Times bestselling Reading Like A Writer
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