They say it was 1943 when Picasso said goodbye to Dora Maar and her heart turned into petals of black carnations scattered throughout. In 1943, Conchita Montenegro filmed her farewell to cinema with her romantic portrayal of Lola Montes, which was released a year later. The sad eyes of Dora and Conchita were prettier than those of Bette Davis but no one has dedicated a song to them. The public will be confronted once again with Dora’s eyes at the upcoming exhibition of the Reina Sofía museum ‘Pity and Terror in Picasso’. Huge eyes that cry the iniquity of a civil war. The public has forgotten Conchita’s eyes. At the time that Picasso fell in love with Dora, Conchita was being directed by the great Robert Siodmak in La Vie Parisienne. Conchita Montenegro was 25 years old and was a world star with sad eyes of civil war. Like Picasso, Dora supported the republican cause and did not step on the soil of Franco’s Spain. After Hollywood, Conchita came to live in Franco’s Spain. Conchita and Dora, Dora and Conchita, beautiful women, seductive and desired, but obsessively faithful to a single love. Dora and Picasso. Conchita and Leslie Howard Steiner.
Dora lost Picasso after giving him everything, as one may say: soul, art and unlimited passion, especially unlimited passion. Empty and exhausted, she spent the rest of her life, secluded in her own inner prison. Conchita lost Leslie Howard to a plane that the Nazi artillery sank in the Bay of Biscay. Leslie was a famous actor, purportedly an agent of Allied Intelligence, and Conchita’s impossible passionate love. Conchita retired from the film industry after the death of Leslie. She lived 95 years. Dora died at 90. The early glory of these young and idolized muses was rapidly diluted in a long life of evanescent isolation.
I know that Dora and Conchita, apart from unhappy love experiences, had little in common. At most, an early retirement from public life that coincided in time, and those beautiful sad eyes, in our opinion, definitely more striking than those of Bette Davis.