Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Deadline for Dora Maar Fellowship is Oct 15

The Dora Maar House, perched high on the hill in the lovely Luberon village of Menerbes, is the former residence of the Yugoslavian photographer and artist who was Pablo Picasso’s companion and muse in the late 1930s and early ‘40s. Picasso bought the house for her in 1944 and Maar (1907–1997) owned it until her death, after which a patron of the arts who resides in both Houston and Menerbes bought it, renovated it and transformed it into a retreat for writers, scholars, and artists.

The 18th-century, four-story stone home has an elegant garden terrace and expansive, quite-breathtaking views. It was built by Général Baron Robert--one of Napoleon’s well-decorated generals in the Republican Army--who most likely cobbled together a series of smaller village houses to make one grand ''hotel de ville.''

What many people may not know is that the Dora Maar House runs an international artists- in-residence program, which provides study or studio space, travel expenses and a stipend to mid-career artists, writers and others interested in the humanities. That means that if you’re chosen, you get paid to pursue your work, for one to three months, in a fantastically beautiful, historic setting in the heart of La Belle Provence.

The village of Menerbes is officially classified one of “The Prettiest Villages of France.” Nostradamus claimed that Menerbes looked like a ship in an ocean of vineyards. For its small size (about 1,200 residents), the village offers a surprisingly lively slate of cultural activities, restaurants, shops, galleries, hotels and cafés. Located roughly 50 kilometers from Marseille International Airport and 40 kilometers from Avignon, with TGV fast-train connections to Paris, the Dora Maar House has easy access to larger cities and cultural centers.

Recent fellows have included art critic and painter Peter Plagens; MFAH curators Mari Carmen Ramirez and Anne Tucker; poets Cleopatra Mathis and Tom Sleigh; theatre director John Jesurun,  novelist Salvatore Scibona; and visual artists Jane South and Nene Humphrey.

The artists-in-residence program is administered by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and is funded by the Brown Foundation of Houston. Katherine Howe, director of Rienzi at the MFAH, is also director of The Brown Foundation Fellows Program. Gwen Strauss, who is based in Menerbes, is assistant director. 

The next deadline for applicants is October 15th, 2013, for residencies between February and June, 2014. Applications are submitted online and all the info is here.

The website for the Dora Maar House is here and you can follow them on Facebook here. A Champagne reception to honor two current fellows, Maud Casey and Donna Stonecipher, will be held Tuesday August 27 at 6 pm and all are welcome.

Photos: (1, 2, 3) The Dora Maar House has lots of hidden corners in which to work or read or think big thoughts. (4) Portrait of Dora Maar taken by Man Ray in 1936. (5) Picasso's "Dora Maar Seated" (1937) shows his mistress in both profile and full face; his painting her in a small box is said to express a feeling of confinement.


  1. Holy cow, Julie. I am sharing this with my artist friends. What a find!

  2. So usual. Julie, you are amazing!

  3. Tempting ... very, very tempting ...

  4. Another fascinating undiscovered gem! I have two friends who are applying to this fellowship now, thanks to The Provence Post! Merci!



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