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Artist Françoise Gillot, ‘The Woman Who Survived Picasso’, Dies at 101

French artist Françoise Gillot died this Tuesday at a Manhattan hospital in New York at the age of 101. The artist moved to the United States in the eighties, where he received dual citizenship. His career began in 1952, when at the end of March of that year he exhibited his works for the first time to the public at the Galerie Louise in Paris, owned by the dealer DH Kahnweiler. Also an advertisement for Pablo Picasso, the artist’s partner at the time. Picasso did not attend the opening, claiming that he had already seen all the paintings and did not want to distract attention from Gillot. “Over the years, although I have continued to use tonal interaction to establish planes in space, I have devoted myself more to color to express tone and feelings,” the artist wrote about his relationship with color. Some of his works can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pompidou in Paris.

“It’s good to exaggerate, to go further, to push the extreme limit that pictorial imagination offers us. When red invades every available space, it interrupts the color that creates the emotional climate or even becomes the meaning of the work,” the artist explained about his chromatic theory. “Color exists to make the heart beat faster, to draw tears, to gnash teeth, and to seduce. It is the result of a compressed feeling, therefore intuitive and passionate,” he added. For Françoise Gilot, color was an innate knowledge that could be honed through years of practice, but could not be taught or learned. Because he recognized in colors a direct expression of the “sensory approach” that man has to life. And he pointed out a very clear similarity: “The color is like a firework that explodes on a summer’s night and hits the beholder in the plexus.”

He was sure that the artist gave hints and the viewer built the image from the puzzle before his eyes. “Like nature itself, the artist is evasive, and the viewer seeks to decipher the mystery, perhaps desiring a more rational logic than the artist ever intends,” he noted of the complex relationship between the viewer and the creator.

Colored artist

At the beginning of painting, he focused on portraits of friends and family. He preferred them to the professional models of the academy. She was convinced that she had a talent for characterizing the people she cared about. His attachment to his family and close friends allowed him to choose among his various physical features the one that best reflected his character. In 1954, this cycle of family portraits ended with her separation from Pablo Picasso. They spent a decade together and, as she says, it was a passionate but difficult relationship. He needed to find his own resources, a specific world “and not within the limits of the world shared with Picasso.”

“I knew Picasso’s works and thoughts more precisely than anyone else.” So said the literary critic Carlton Lake after writing a biography of Picasso for the Atlantic Monthly in 1956. It was then that he spoke to Guillot for the first time. The French artist no longer lived with the Malagasy man. Three years ago, she left him and took her children Claude and Paloma with her. Ten years later, in 1964, he published a memoir about life with the artist. “Everything he said, everything Picasso said, and every hour of the ten years they spent together,” Lake added of the biography, which Gillito helped write in a calm, even tone, “Françoise recorded in her mind everything he said.” Picasso said everything.

In the prologue, the journalist insists on the truth of Gilot’s testimony, knowing the wave of denials and accusations that Picasso’s former partner will receive after the book is published. That is why he remembers that the personal letters among them, in addition to “numerous other relevant documents, are filled with three large drawers, which, due to their storage in the attic, miraculously escaped the fate of Françoise’s other personal belongings. Kept at his home from the south of France in 1955.”

It took 30 years to translate the memories in Spain. The new version is published by Elba, and this tour reveals that Picasso didn’t care if Françoise was happy or unhappy, as long as she brought happiness to the rest of the family. In the late forties, the ideal woman for Picasso was still one who devoted herself to the needs of the artist and his children.

So when the artist heard that Guillot had decided to withdraw, the artist was furious. He told him that he is his product, that he will not go anywhere without him. that people approached him only to meet a man whose life was a part of the great Picasso. “Reality is over for you,” Gilot says the artist told him. The French artist endured the shadow of the author Guernica For the rest of her life, she was remembered as “the only woman who survived Picasso.”

Source: El Diario





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