Picasso and women: submission, abuse and the one who said “No”

This week Françoise Gilot, one of the painter’s couples from Malaga, with whom he had two children, died at the age of 101. The end of his story was different from that of his other wives, since it was she who left him and was able to rebuild his life in art without the harmful shadow that the artist has always left behind. A painter who, according to what has been written, mistreated women.

They met by chance in a cafe Of course, despite the notorious age difference, that spark ignited between them, that inexplicable moment, that thrill people usually call love. In this 1943, the painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso he met the French painter Francoise Gilot. He, already a mature man of 61, and she, a promising young artist of 21.

At that time, Picasso had a partner, also a French artist Dora Maar, a remarkable photographer whose work was overshadowed by the influence of the Spaniards, who before the new opportunity presented to her, he had no qualms about abandoning her for Gilot. This link, according to the writer’s research Arianna Stassinopoulos in his book Picasso creator and destroyer, It wasn’t really happy for her, as she suffered domestic abuse from the painter from Malaga. “Several times he left her unconscious on the ground after hitting her,” he said. The subjugation and annulment of the couple was apparently something that accompanied him in his way of relating to women.

Francoise Gilot.

He had started a relationship with Maar years before, in 1935. She was 29 and he was 55. And as with Gilot, his first sight was also in Paris at the Café des Deux Magots in 1936, shortly before the start of the Spanish Civil War. according to the book Dora Maar, Victoria Combalía, she started to play with a pocket knife that she usually carried in her bag. In a risky move, he stroked the blade between his fingers, making it jump, although it started squirting blood, it didn’t stop. Picasso was captivated and immediately approached him and asked for his bloody gloves.

For Dora, being abandoned by the genius of Cubism meant a difficult time. . She had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, she was psychoanalyzed by Jacques Lacan, and later she was admitted to Sainte-Anne hospital. They applied an electric shock. All with Picasso’s full approval. So much so that it must have been one of his friends, Paul Éluard, who asked him to take her out of the room where she was being electroshocked.

Picasso with Dora Maar.

But before her, he was with Marie-Therese Walter between 1927 and 1935. He met her when she was only 17, and Picasso was married to the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, with whom she had had her eldest son, Paulo. Of course, there was tension, as Picasso increasingly wanted to leave his wife to go with his young lover. And he did. Without any shame.

However, for Walter, things weren’t quite rosy. Stassinopoulos, for example, recounts in his book a vacation they shared with friends in 1928 in a cabin where frolic became a serious and more intense thing. Her obligation was clear: obey every order and whim of the man she described as a “wonderfully terrible” lover. “I always cried with Picasso – Marie-Thérèse will admit it more than forty years later – I submitted to him”.

Marie-Therese Walter.

For Stassinopoulos, a factor that complicated any sentimental equation with him was Picasso’s taste for the extreme, for pushing the limits, which he did without too many complications. “Experimentation on the limits of sexuality was a serious thing with Picasso, who sought not only to satisfy his sexual appetites, but also to fulfill himself by abandoning himself to what was forbidden”. Even so, with her he had his second daughter, Maya.

It was while he was with Walter that Picasso met Maar. Around the period when he painted his famous guernica. Hence a particularly cruel anecdote, which Stassinopoulos relates in his volume quoted: “One day when I was still working at the Guerinica, with Dora photographing the progress of the painting, Marie-Thérèse passed by and tried to exercise the rights that (Picasso) had conferred on her in declarations of their deep and growing love. ‘I have a daughter with this man’, he told his rival… ‘My place is to be here with him and you can leave right away’”.

Far from feeling intimidated, according to Stassinopoulos, Maar replied: “‘I have more reason than you to be here.'” And Picasso? “He continued to paint as if the thing was not with him and he was there as an innocent spectator.” So Marie-Thérèse asked him to choose who would stay, and according to the book, the painter said, “I have no interest in making a decision”, and told them to fend for themselves. Immediately afterwards, what happened is echoed by Stassinopoulos from an account by a close friend: “His two mistresses were engaged in a fist fight in his studio, while he peacefully continued his work on the enormous canvas designed to censor the horrors of human combat.'”.

Before Walter there was, we said, Olga Khokhlova, his first official wife, whom he married in 1918. Picasso relied on her to draw, for example, Olga in the mat. However, the first red flag it came to Russian from Picasso’s mother herself. This is how Stassinopoulos recounts it in his book: “As soon as Olga was introduced to him, he took her aside and warned her that no woman could be happy with her son, because he was only available for himself, but for no one else. . He also knew that his son could not be a woman with this particular woman. And it was neither.

“Olga Khokhlova in a mantilla” (1917).

But back to Francoise Gilot, passed away on June 6. He not only had an exceptional pictorial talent, but she was the only woman who could stand up to him. For this reason, she is the only one to have made the decision to leave Pablo Picasso. And not only decide, but also execute it.

“I’ve never heard anyone say no to Picasso. actually for me They called me the woman who said no, because when she had to say no, she said it. “, she assured in an interview. They remained together for ten years, between 1943 and 1953, and they had two children, Claude and Paloma. Leaving him, a resentful Picasso shouts at him: “Do you think someone is going to be interested in you? They’ll never do it just for you: even the people you think you like will just be a kind of curiosity about someone whose life has touched mine so intimately.

Gilot revealed his life with the Malaga man in the book Living with Picasso, despite the efforts of the painter so that the book does not see the light of day. He certainly didn’t want the world to know about his private behaviors. After the breakup, the Frenchwoman rebuilt her life in a remarkable way, without the need for Picasso. His work is exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), the Metropolitan and the Center Pompidou in Paris, among other museums. An artist in her own right.

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Source: Latercera

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