Dora Maar, 89, the dark-haired mistress and muse of Pablo Picasso who plunged into a lifelong depression when the painter ended their relationship, died July 16 in Clamart, France, a small town south of Paris.

A painter and a photographer, Ms. Maar struggled to break free from Picasso's powerful personality and pursue her own artistic ambitions. She failed, spending much of her adult life as a recluse.

During her eight years with Picasso in the 1930s and '40s, she was the subject of several portraits, including "Bust of a Seated Woman," which sold at auction in 1995 for $3 million.

Picasso met Ms. Maar in 1936 at Les Deux Magots cafe, a famed Left Bank watering hole for artists, writers and intellectuals between the two world wars.

Another of Picasso's loves, Francoise Gilot, once described how Ms. Maar first appeared to the painter when he walked into the cafe.

"Dora Maar wore black gloves with little roses. She took off her gloves and took a long, pointed knife that she stabbed into the table between her spread fingers," said Gilot, quoted by the daily Le Figaro.

"From time to time, she missed the mark by a fraction of a millimeter, and her hand was covered in blood. Picasso was fascinated. He asked Dora to give him her gloves, and he saved them under glass."

At the time Ms. Maar and Picasso met, the painter was involved with another woman. Ms. Maar quickly found a studio where she and Picasso could meet privately.

It was in this atelier in central Paris that Picasso painted "Guernica," his horrifying depiction of the destruction of a small Spanish village by German bombers in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War. Ms. Maar's photographs of the execution of the painting have been reproduced widely.

Picasso painted portraits of Ms. Maar and another lover, Marie-Therese Walter, one day in 1939, apparently as a way to examine his feelings about the two. Neither model posed for them.

Walter is portrayed in sinuous lines and cool colors, the window behind her an empty plane of sea-green. Ms. Maar, in garish colors and spiky lines, is shown reading while lying down, with flowering trees outside.

"For Picasso, it's out with the old and in with the new," one French art critic noted. "Look at poor Marie-Therese -- all curves in a blank room. Dora is stretched out on a red bed, angular, edgy, but nature is in bloom, resplendent with Picasso's newborn passion."

Ms. Maar and Picasso's breakup in the 1940s was difficult. She fell into a deep depression and at one point underwent treatment with the respected French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, according to Le Monde newspaper. After World War II, she exhibited some of her photographs but never received the recognition she felt she deserved and gradually withdrew from public life.

Ms. Maar was born Theodora Markovitch, on Nov. 22, 1907, in Tours, France. Her father, of Yugoslav origin, was an architect who took his family to Argentina, where Ms. Maar spent her early years before settling in France.

Ms. Maar had close ties to the surrealists, a movement characterized by the irrational, fantastic interpretations of reality, which flourished in the 1930s.

Ms. Maar never married, and there apparently are no survivors.