As a painter and photographer, Dora Maar's imagery is indelibly linked to the Surrealist canon. However, as a photographer she rarely employed montage in her photographs or applied color to a photographic print, as many of her Surrealist peers did. 29, rue d'Astorg combines the two, resulting in one of the signature images of Maar's photographic oeuvre. The jarring juxtaposition of the headless, female sculpture and the Romanesque cloister in Mont St. Michel is made particularly effective by Maar's manipulation of the two components. The receding abyss of the cavern recalls De Chirico and the skewed space and bizarre inhabitant are reminescent of Kertész's Distortion series from 1933.
By 1936 Maar had become fully established in the Surrealist circle of Paris. Her relationship with Picasso added to the allure of her persona (see: Christie's Photographs, October 3, 1996, lot 242) but her accomplishments as an artist gave her a deserved affinity with the Surrealists. In 1937, Georges Hugnet published La Carte Surrealiste, Première Série, a collection of twenty one postcards heralding the work of Picasso, Man Ray, Duchamp, Arp, Bellmer, Oppenheim and others, including Maar. The image chosen to represent Maar was 29, rue d'Astorg (see illustration below).
One other print of the finished, colored version of this image is known to exist. It is in the collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.