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Pablo Picasso’s World War II Mistress is 100 and Still Going Strong

A (much) older woman, still spry, sits on a couch and speaks earnestly to someone off-camera

Françoise Gilot is seen during an interview in 2013. (Photo: Khan Academy Turkey via Wikimedia Commons)

Salute to François Gilot, who just turned 100 and is still giving charming interviews to The New York Times.

We wrote about François Gilot seven years ago in a piece titled Pablo Picasso’s World War II Mistress is Alive and Painting in New York City. This new article says that she “has for the moment laid her brushes aside,” but Gilot doesn’t seem to have lost much on her conversational fastball. Here she is talking about a series of paintings she did in the 1960s, inspired by the myth of Theseus and Ariadne:

“Maybe they are most representative of who I am now,” she said. “I see life as a labyrinth. You don’t fight it. You go where it takes you.” Or, as she added after a beat, “You go the other way.”

Clearly she can still strike the mysterious tone that fascinated Pablo Picasso. She lived with the great and eccentric artist for 10 years and is the mother of two of his children, Paloma and Claude. But she has been quite successful on her own as an artist:

Shows of her work opened late last year at the Estrine Museum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, at Varfok Gallery in Budapest and at Galerie Patrick and Jillian Mac Fine Art in New Orleans. At Christie’s in Hong Kong, “Living Forest,” an 1977 abstract canvas that was part of a major retrospective at the auction house in November, sold for $1.3 million.

Gilot’s birthday was in November, so she’s now working on her 101st year. Good for her, and here’s hoping she picks up the brushes again soon.

Françoise Gilot: ‘It Girl’ at 100 »

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