On the 21 June 2017, the special memento of a dramatic love affair between an artist and his muse went under the hammer at Sotheby’s London.
As history tells it, Pablo Picasso designed a ring to appease Dora Maar, after a lover’s quarrel. An art historian, James Lord, in his 1993 work, Picasso and Dora, tells us Picasso designed the ring after a heated argument while the couple walked on the Pont Neuf, sometime in the 1930s. The design time frame was at the highest point of Picasso’s artistic career, and at the time he painted the Guernica, a canvas depicting the Spanish Civil War horrors.
According to Lord, the argument came about when Picasso admonished his lover, Maar, for convincing him to exchange his artwork for a gold and ruby cabochon ring. The bitter fight ended with Dora removing the ring and throwing it in the Sein River, leaving her lover in stunned silence.
As with any case of “hindsight,” Dora soon regretted her impulsive act. Several months after the fight, Dora wandered the area where the city was dredging the riverbed, looking for the ring. But, sadly she could never find the ruby ring.
To help appease his own regret, Picasso designed a replacement ring, known as Bague de forme ovale. Portrait de Dora Maar. The ring features Maar’s portrait in coloured pencil and ink on paper, surrounded by enamel flowers set to a delicate metal frame. Picasso gifted his lover and muse with the one-of-a-kind piece, that depicts the volatile emotions of the pair.
The couple had a passionate yet tumultuous affair before ending the relationship in 1943. The Portrait de Dora Maar stayed in Dora Maar’s personal collection until her death in 1997.
Pablo Picasso’s artistic and heartfelt piece sold at the Sotheby’s London auction for the amazing sum of £584,750.