Picasso’s muse artist Françoise Gilot dies at 101

Françoise Gilot, a prolific and acclaimed painter who produced art for more than a half-century, famous for her turbulent relationship with Pablo Picasso died on Tuesday at 101.

Gilot’s daughter, Aurelia Engel, told the Associated Press that Gilot died at Mount Sinai West Hospital after suffering from lung and heart problems.

Born in 1921 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris, France, Gilot studied English Literature at Cambridge University.

She graduated from the Sorbonne in 1938 with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1938 and a degree in English from Cambridge University in 1939.

French painter, critic, and bestselling author Francoise Gilot sitting on a couch, UK, 3rd March 1965. (Photo by McCabe/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1943, she had her first art exhibition in Paris when she was in her early twenties.

In the same year, she met surrealist painter Pablo Picasso, when she was 21 and he was 61.

Both artists were in a relationship for a decade, in which they had two children, Claude and Paloma.

According to Gilot’s 1964 book, Life with Picasso, she was abused by Picasso as well as his legal wife at the time Olga Khokhlova, who abused Gilot multiple times on the streets of Paris.

She left Picasso in 1953, and afterwards, it is believed that Picasso told all art dealers not to purchase her work, which cut her artistic career short.

Paloma à la Guitare

According to her interview with The Guardian newspaper in 2016, during their relationship she told Picasso “Watch out, because I came when I wanted to, but I will leave when I want.”

To which he responded “Nobody leaves a man like me.”

“We’ll see” she said.

Over the year, her art increased in value with her 1965 Paloma à la Guitare selling for $1.3 million in 2021 at a Sotheby’s auction.

According to Engel, her mother’s key legacy lies not only in her creativity but also in her courage which was reflected in her art.

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