HomeLearning CenterPicasso Tried to Ruin His Ex’s Career. The Picasso Museum Will Show Her Art.

Picasso Tried to Ruin His Ex’s Career. The Picasso Museum Will Show Her Art.

Originally published by Annabelle Timsit for the Washington Post

In 1953, French artist Françoise Gilot walked out on Pablo Picasso, her partner of 10 years, father of her two children and titan of the European art world.

Doing so took courage: In Gilot’s own telling,Picasso — a capricious man who was married twice and had a string of long-term relationships and extramarital affairs — tried to sabotage her art careerapparently telling her: “One doesn’t leave a man like me.”

But Gilot did it anyway — and is thought to be the only one of his partners who ever left him. She later wrote a book about their life together, which Picasso tried several times to quash.

Because of Picasso’s anger toward her, and because she later moved to the United States, Gilot’s work has had “a very limited presence in French public collections,” said Joanne Snrech, curator of paintings at the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Now, the museum is aiming to change that: It unveiled a new collection Tuesday that features a room dedicated to Gilot’s work — a first in France, according to the Picasso Museum. The goal was to present Gilot as an artist in her own right, “not just as a companion to Picasso,” said Snrech in a phone interview Tuesday.

“It seems absolutely insane that she was known as Picasso’s companion and the mother of her children even though she had this 80-year-long career,” said Snrech.

The room, which is not permanent but is expected to be part of the collection at least until the end of the year, features 10 of Gilot’s paintings. Two more are featured in another room centered around Picasso’s time in Vallauris in southern France, where he and Gilot lived.

The new exhibit comes as “momentum” is building around Gilot, who died in New York last year at the age of 101 — and as museums around the world take steps to reexamine the often-underappreciated work of female artists, said Snrech.

Back to News