Lot 406
  • 406

Françoise Gilot

40,000 - 60,000 USD
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  • Françoise Gilot
  • La Chaise verte
  • Signed F. Gilot (lower left); signed F. Gilot, titled and dated 58 (on the stretcher)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 51 1/8 by 38 1/4 in.
  • 130 by 97.1 cm


Acquired directly from the artist


Françoise Gilot, Françoise Gilot, Monograph 1940-2000, Lausanne, 2000, illustrated in color p. 256


This work is in very good condition. The canvas is unlined and there is some fine craquelure in the black pigment in the upper left, center left and upper center (the window panes). The work exhibits an irregular varnish which is slightly dirty. Under UV light: some natural pigments fluoresce in the chair. There are a few possible strokes of inpainting to the top right and top left window panes. The work may benefit from a light cleaning.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

This important biographical canvas was composed as an homage to the more somber tones Gilot so admires in the work of Georges Braque as well as a memento mori to both her maternal grandmother, who died in 1951, and to her father who had more recently died in October of 1957. The crucifix form of the window is dark with little vision of the future. The chair is from her grandmother’s home, the green cushion needlepointed by her grandmother, Anne Renoult. Though a small woman, Renoult was Gilot’s biggest supporter and steadfast champion, especially when it came to issues regarding Gilot’s father, Émile Gilot, wishing Francoise to be a lawyer rather than pursue her passion for art. They would have many arguments about Francoise’s future, ultimately leading to Francoise leaving home in the late summer of 1943 to move in with Renoult, where she set up her first studio in the attic. Decades later, Gilot fondly remembers that her grandmother would always sit in this chair when Gilot sought her counsel. In this painting, the chair now sits silent and empty.

It was Anne Renoult’s passing eight years later that facilitated a reconciliation between Gilot and her father. The table, purchased by Gilot after she left Picasso in 1953, with the financial support and encouragement of her father, holds a vase of bright red anemones, interestingly a favorite of both her father and her grandmother.

La Chaise verte is seeped in melancholy and appears imbued with emotion, evidenced by the areas that have been worked and reworked on the surface. Of particular interest are the areas of pentimenti. The actual green chair is smaller in scale than originally painted, though Gilot has heightened the back, possibly for compositional value or parity.

At the end of 1957 and in spite of Picasso’s retaliatory influences, Gilot was offered a new contract with Galerie Coard in Paris. It was in 1958, feeling she had now “unified her hand,” that Gilot resumed a personal line of inquire in her work—branding each painting with a style unmistakably her own—and reflecting a concern for simplicity and tone-color coordination. The canvases of this period are not overcrowded and give spatial value to emphasize surface tension. Gilot enlarged a studio space at her parents' home in Neuilly so that she could work there each afternoon to be closer to her mother and infant daughter, Aurelia. This detail perhaps accounts for the still life canvases of this period being more introspective, often populated with personal objects from Gilot’s immediate living environment. For an artist known to paint primarily from her imagination, this image represents a rather rare and poignant period in Gilot’s oeuvre.