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Francoise Gilot’s Memoir “Life With Picasso”

Francoise Gilot’s book “Life With Picasso” is a memoir of her decade-long relationship with the legendary artist, Pablo Picasso. During these years they also had two children together, Claude and Paloma.

Gilot provides us with an intimate glimpse into the mind and character of one of the most creative artists of the 20th century. Francoise Gilot shares stories about Picasso’s love life, his friends and his views on art. 

Pablo Picasso drawing of  Francoise Gilot
Picasso drawing of Francoise Gilot

Gilot met the Spanish artist in 1943, when she was in her early twenties and Picasso in his sixties (40 years between them). She details the turbulent ten years together, providing intimate details of their lives.  

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Francoise Gilot Transports you into Picasso’s Art World

If you are an art lover, Gilot details interesting conversations with Picasso about his philosophies on art and life, his inspirations and the processes behind his artworks.

Life with Picasso” also provides you with a glimpse into the world of the French artists during the 1940s and 1950s. Although only 80 years ago, their world seems a long time gone. Francoise Gilot captures wonderfully many scenes with fellow artists, such as Matisse, Braque, Chagall, Miro, Giacometti & others. One of the most interesting chapters is when she describes Picasso’s relationship with his number one artistic rival Henri Matisse.

“We must talk to each other as much as we can. When one of us dies, there will be some things the other will never be able to talk of with anyone else” Quote Henri Matisse to Pablo Picasso

Francoise Gilot – An Accomplished Artist in Her Own Right

Francoise Gilot was so much more though than Picasso’s lover and muse. She was also an accomplished artist in her own right. However, like many other women of those times, Francoise Gilot gave up her ambitions and she allowed Picasso to overshadow her talents.

However, over time, Francoise Gilot grew up and came to the realization that their relationship was all about Pablo Picasso. She understood that Picasso would never change. Gilot also became aware of the life ahead of her if she continued to stay with him. Unlike Picasso’s other women, Francoise Gilot decided to leave him as she wanted more for herself and for her two children.

Francoise Gilot Portrait by Pablo Picasso
Francoise Gilot Portrait by Picasso

You will admire Francoise Gilot’s boldness of the way she lived her life. In many ways, the book is about her identity as a woman and as an artist.

A fascinating interview with the strong-minded Francoise Gilot

With all his flaws, Gilot loved Picasso and she pays tribute to him by writing these beautiful words:

“From that moment on, he burned all the bridges that connected me to the past I had shared with him. But in doing so, he forced me to discover myself and thus to survive. I shall never cease being grateful to him for that” 

Photo of Francoise Gilot, Picasso and their son, Claude
Photo of Francoise Gilot, Picasso and their son, Claude

Francoise Gilot’s #MeToo Story

Francoise Gilot’s memoir “Life With Picasso” and her life with him, is both fascinating & disturbing. Today, she would have been a significant voice in the current #MeToo movement. Although brilliant, Pablo Picasso was a misogynist, work-obsessed and an abusive male towards the women in his life….

Interestingly, Pablo Picasso took Gilot to court in order to stop the publication of her memoir. He did not succeed.

For those of you who love Picasso and his art BEWARE!! Francoise Gilot does not paint a pretty picture of the Spaniard at all!

For more wonderful novels about the French artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, check out my reviews below: