Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dora Maar's Photographs of Guernica

When asked what one of my favorite works of art to ever see in person is, I generally shock people by saying Pablo Picasso's Guernica. I had such a powerful reaction to this painting at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, I had to see it twice during my visit to Spain in 1995. I can't put it into words exactly but certainly the scale and the subject matter has something to do with it. I had the opportunity to see the Picasso exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum yesterday. Aside from the fact that there were very few opportunities to spend a lot of time next to the work (for fear of a panic attack with the thousands of people milling around the exhibition listening to audio devices), there was one thing that gave me chills: Dora Maar's photographs of the execution of Guernica.

Maar documented the progress of the mural over the course of several photographs. Below is how it was exhibited at SAM (via). I love the barely visible top left image where it resembles a study drawn on a chalk board. Seeing what parts were unveiled first and how that changed over the course of the series was fascinating. Of course I had the same view as this image (with people standing in front of me wherever I turned). In any case, I'll have to hunt down these images to study in a less crowded scenario.


  1. I love the new blog, and particularly this post about Picasso! I just realised that I hadn't seen anything from you in a while and then remembered that it was because you had moved.


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