NEW YORK - Françoise Gilot is widely known as the only woman who dared to love Picasso and to leave him. “You imagine people will be interested in you?” he is said to have declared as they separated. “They won’t ever, really, just for yourself. 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.” But Gilot, now 92 and living in New York, is a talented artist in her own right, and over the past few decades several important exhibitions of her work have successfully ensured that she receives her due recognition.
Robert Capa’s 1948 portrait of Gilot and Picasso. © Robert Capa © International Center Of Photography/Magnum Photos.
Gilot was always much more than just Picasso’s muse and companion; when she famously met him at a café in Paris called Le Catalan in 1943, she was 21 (40 years his junior) and already an ambitious and exhibiting artist. Her extensive accomplishments as a painter, printmaker and writer have since seen her inducted into the French Légion d’Honneur in 1991 – then one of only a handful of women to be so honoured. Gilot has exhibited her work worldwide; a notable recent presentation was in 2012 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. That exhibition, Picasso and Françoise Gilot, Paris-Vallauris, 1943–53, focused on the aesthetic dialogue the two artists shared during the decade they spent together and was co-curated by Gilot herself. In the forthcoming Impressionist & Modern Art Day sale at Sotheby’s New York on 5 November, seven works by Gilot will be presented. Among these are drawings of the couple’s children, Claude and Paloma, as well as several important self-portraits, including the mesmerising Étude bleue, 1953.
Works by Françoise Gilot will be exhibited in New York from 31 October–4 November. Auction: 5 November. Enquiries +1 212 606 7360