Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Dora Maar with green fingernails

Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar with Green Fingernails
Oil on Canvas, 1936
Museum Berrgruen, Berlin

She looks at you from the wall at the Museum Berggruen in Berlin Charlottenburg. No - not really. She doesn't look at you.

She simply looks. Observes. All around her, her eyes surveying not one direction but several at once.

She was a woman who always saw a lot - so says the commentary.

For most of Picasso's distortion of female figures I do not care all that much. In particular the double noses (as in smelling a lot???) are weird.

But Dora with green fingernails... I like her, like how her eyelid becomes part of the outline of her face. How it emphasises her eyes, beautiful eyes, matched with eyeshadow and bright green nail varnishes. How 1980s in the 1930s.

She made it into my sketchbook, next to Paul Klee's Die Zeit. With that she's only one of two of Picasso's women - alongside the wonderful melancholic Woman with a Chignon I met in Harvard.
And funnily enough - the sketch is just of her face, so when I tried to look for the painting again I got struck by that starched, stiff and downright scary dress she's wearing. Maybe that says even more than her all observing eyes?

Sketch of Dora Maar by Picasso
Sketch of Dora Maar with green fingernails by Pablo Picasso
Pencil and neo ii in Moleskine, 14x21cm

And I think it's time now that Dora made it out of the sketchbook and into print - the figure tasks for the monotype projects are the difficult ones; so I'm circling around them, thinking one up, trying a bit, dismissing it again. But I think I'll stick with Dora, not sure how yet, but that'll be freestyle no 3, I think.


jafabrit said...

This is one of my FAVOURITE paintings. Hadn't seen the sketch before though :)

Gesa said...

Jafabrit - that's uncanny. I had had a look through my picasso book, and there are a couple of portrait's of maar with that particular look/ feature of her left eye, and her head held up by her hand with painted fingernails.