Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Adress Book, a Life
Getty Publications, 2020
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.