Sunday, October 1

Franoise Gilot dies, condemned to live in the shadow of Picasso


A lover of Malaga and mother of two of her children, the brilliant French painter has died in New York at the age of 101

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Despite his undeniable talent as an artist, he knew almost from the beginning that will live in perpetuity in the shadow of Pablo Picasso. Franoise Gilot, the one who was a lover and mother of two of his children, Claude and Paloma Picasso, She has died today at the age of 101 in a Manhattan hospital, the author of a controversial biography about her life with the painter that the man from Malaga tried to block at all costs and who ended up becoming a bestseller.

Picasso himself, loaded with arrogance and resentment, exposed it to her as crudely as possible when he found out that Gilot was going to do what no other lover had dared to do before her: abandon him. “Do you think people will be interested in you?” he told the French painter. “They’ll never do it, really, just for you. Even if you think people like you, it’s just some sort of curiosity they’ll have about a person whose life touched mine so intimately.”

to the portent of The Ladies of Avignon He met him in 1943 when he was only 21 years old in a restaurant in Paris. Picasso was then 61. Little mattered. Dora Maar, the photographer and poet who was his muse and lover at the time, had to quickly accept that she was to be replaced by the young French woman. He moved in with the Spaniard in 1946 and they were 10 years together a relationship as passionate at first as stormy afterwards.

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Picasso abused her, both verbally and physically. He also had to endure the constant pressure from the painter’s still wife, the ballerina Olga Khokhlova, a relationship headed for the precipice that years later continued to thrive. the Andalusian He wanted to end his career. He instructed art dealers to stop buying Gilot’s work.

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The painter Franoise Gilot, in her workshop.AFP

Even so, he knew how to get up and succeed, unlike Picasso’s two ex-wives and their string of lovers. She continued to exhibit her paintings and wrote books about her, including the one about her ex-husband’s revenge, Life with Picasso, written by the art critic Carlton Lake and published in 1964. La ira del malagueño failed to stop its presence in bookstores around the world, translated into 12 languages. More than a million copies were sold, and from there the painter decided to cut off all communication with Gilot and his two sons. All the money raised from the sale of the memories went to the legal cause so that both Claudet and Paloma were recognized as legitimate heirs.

Gilot never lacked public pull. He continued to find buyers for his paintings. abstract despite the curse of his ex-partner. His most famous work, Pigeon to the Guitarsold for $1.3 million in an online auction at Sotheby’s in June 2021, the same amount paid for Living Forest, a 1977 abstract canvas sold by Christie’s in Hong Kong. Both works surpassed what was their previous record: the 695,000 dollars of etude bluea portrait from 1953. His works, which tried to move away from Picasso’s style, are hung in museums such as the Metropolitan and the MOMA in New York or the Center Pompidou in Paris.

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In those ten years of relationship with Picasso there were happy moments. Gilot remembers the kindness with which he treated him in the early years. But also the artist’s trips to the south of France with the occasional romantic dalliance with other women. When he told her that he was leaving her in September 1953, the genius couldn’t believe it. “No woman leaves a man like me”, Told him.

In addition to rebuilding his career, he rebuilt his sentimental life. Gilot married a French artist she met as a child, Luc Simon, with whom he had a son, and later with Jonas Salk, an American author of the first polio vaccine.

The daughter of an agronomist and businessman determined that his daughter would be a lawyer and of a painter who ended up infecting her with her passion for the trade, Gilot was clear about her love for painting from an early age. She told Lisa Stevenson, boss at Sotheby’s, after the sale of Pigeon to the Guitar. “It is not widely known that Gilot’s commitment to art was present long before his relationship with Pablo Picasso, and unfortunately often fell in his shadow.”

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