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Next month, for the first time ever, a selection of her paintings and drawings will be shown in a joint exhibition with Picasso's. We are in her apartment off Central Park West, her U. There's a large, double-height studio with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, north-facing windows, and two easels for her current work: abstract oils in resonant colors, which she paints without preliminary sketches and with both hands, alternating between left and right.
Erect, alert, and somewhat aloof, she's a handsome and impressive woman, a presence. I have done my duty to those memories. I have had a great career as an artist myself, you know. I'm not here just because I've spent time with Picasso.
Her early life, as she describes it, was privileged but lonely. I did not submit to rules if I did not see they had any meaning. She was 21; Picasso was She admired the courage that had made Picasso refuse to leave occupied France.
She herself had been arrested in a student demonstration, and like everyone else in Paris at that time, she felt both doomed and fearless. Although she was well aware of Picasso's history with women he was dining that night with Dora Maar, his soon-to-be-discarded mistress, who was looking daggers at their table , she wasn't a bit afraid or in awe of him. One of the more prominent denouncers was John Richardson, who would go on to write a masterly multi-volume biography of Picasso.
In his first volume on Picasso, he said that everything I wrote was lies. In the third, he wrote that what I said is extremely important. He changed his mind about me, which I think is quite nice of him. She drew very well, and she was a serious and extremely professional painter. I don't want to make this another mistress show. Some years ago, she sold the only one she had, the best of the La Femme-fleur series, in which he painted her as a semi-abstract, graceful, pale green-and-blue but quite un-flowerly flower.
He painted it in , soon after taking her to meet Matisse, who had made him jealous by saying he would like to paint a portrait of her with green hair and a light-blue complexion.
She saw it the same day she saw Picasso's Guernica , which was on view for the first time at the Paris International Exposition. Her second book, Matisse and Picasso, is a penetrating study of the artists' complex relationship. I'm a French artist, that's for sure. I am color-oriented and what you might call a composer.
I am not pouring my guts out; I keep them inside. He wanted her to stay up late at night with him, often until two or three in the morning, talking and arguing about his work. Her independence, her directness, and her penetrating insights fascinated and annoyed him, and nourished his insatiable appetite for life. You have it or you don't. And if you have it, you have to develop it yourself. I was interested in my work. Claude was born in and Paloma in I hated being pregnant.
I've tried to help my children become themselves. Paloma has been working with Tiffany's for 31 years. She found what she wanted to do, and she's done it. One of the reasons I came to the United States in was that I thought people would be more fair here, and I had also noticed that about 80 percent of my collectors were American.
On a trip to Los Angeles in , a friend introduced her to Jonas Salk. She had no interest in meeting him—she thought scientists were boring. But soon afterward, he came to New York and invited her to have tea at Rumplemayer's. She balked. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Phyllis is a good friend of mine, I say, and she would love for me to bring you over to see the painting—she is not lending it to the Gagosian show.
We go to see it a month later in Phyllis's art-filled penthouse overlooking the East River. She falls silent in front of a large —53 ink drawing of Paloma as a baby, and I notice that she's not really looking at it. She's looking at a small drawing on the grand piano that shows a nude and highly eroticized Jacqueline Roque, the woman who replaced her in Picasso's life. We finally sit down in front of Woman Drawing, which hangs alone on a long wall, flanked by two masterpieces of tribal art.
That's optimistic! I never used a pencil like that, so it's pure imagination. Phyllis mentions that a prominent art historian once wrote that the pencil was tied this way so her children wouldn't knock it off the table.
Pablo imagined that pencil. It had nothing to do with anything he saw. He had such a fantastic visual memory, and most of the time he drew from what was in his mind. For me, it was blue and green—although here, I have only green. You can hear it, if you like. Black was usually associated with Dora Maar, but he played more with form than with color for her.
Dora Maar had both eyes on the same side—with me, they are on each side of my nose, thank God. Two years later, she was gone—the only one of Picasso's women who left him, and the only one who went on to have a rich and rewarding life of her own. For me, he's the best. His gray paintings, precisely. He understands what gray is all about.
Life After Picasso: Françoise Gilot
One evening, in Paris, the two happened to be dining at the same restaurant. Picasso was there with his then partner Dora Maar and friends; Gilot with hers. Yet she was captivated. He was In it, Gilot describes a decade-long love affair with Picasso. She, too, was a serious painter, with ambitions to make a name for herself.
'It was not a sentimental love': Françoise Gilot on her years with Picasso
Gilot was already launched as an accomplished artist, notably in watercolours and ceramics, but her professional career was eclipsed by her social celebrity, and when she split from Picasso, he discouraged galleries from buying her work, as well as unsuccessfully trying to block her memoirs, Life with Picasso , which went on to sell a million. Her father was a businessman and agronomist , and her mother was a watercolor artist. Her father was a strict man. Gilot began writing with her left hand as a young child, but at the age of four her father forced her to write with her right hand.