Françoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso
Created on June 11, 2020
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"Adam Forcing Eve to Eat the Apple" (1946).
This painting is by Françoise Gilot, a French artist better known as one of Pablo Picasso's many lovers.
Gilot and Picasso met in 1943 in Le Catalan, a restaurant close to where Picasso lived and worked in Paris. When they met, Gilot was 21 and Picasso was 61. Picasso was seated with his current partner, Dora Maar, when they met.
At that time, Gilot - at 21 years old and still in art school - was already a well-known artist and her work was selling. Gilot told Picasso she was a painter in the cafe when they met, to which Picasso said, “That is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Girls who look like you could never be painters."
Gilot is the only one of "Picasso's women" who left of her own accord. Even Picasso was impressed, calling her "the woman who says no." However, although he was impressed by her, it is clear that Picasso also felt a great anger towards her. When Gilot was leaving Picasso, he told her: “Even if you think people like you, it will only be a kind of curiosity they will have about a person whose life has touched mine so intimately. And you’ll be left with only the taste of ashes in your mouth. For you, reality is finished..."
Despite Picasso's threats, Gilot left him in 1953 after 10 years and 2 children with Picasso. She was the only one of Picasso's lovers who left him, and the only one who had a good and fulfilling life after the relationship with him had ended. She said of her decision to leave Picasso: "I knew if I didn't leave Pablo, he would devour me." Gilot moved to America to try to escape Picasso. Despite what Picasso told her, her art kept selling. She always made a living off of her art. Although Picasso tried to ruin her career and her reputation, Gilot managed to have a successful and happy life
Gilot diagnosed Picasso with a "Bluebeard complex" that made him want to "cut the heads off of all the women that he had collected in his little private museum." However, she saved herself and pursued the art she loved so much. Although during her time with Picassos she was part of a group that included Henri Matisse and Georges Braque, she says her art is not influenced by anyone. Even Picasso's biographer, John Richardson, agrees that "Picasso took from her more than she took from him”.
Gilot, who is 98 years old, is now trying to buy her own works because she wants to get her paintings back. Sometimes she cannot, however, because her work has become extremely popular and expensive in recent years, but she is trying to bring as much of her artwork home as she can. She still paints every day.
Pablo Picasso was an abuser. He used economic abuse to control his lovers as well as his family. He kept his partners trapped in a relationship with him by using threats. Picasso was also an expert at using isolation to keep his lovers dependent on him.
He said about women: "Women are machines for suffering" and "For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats."