Francoise Gilot, French (1921 - )

Francoise Gilot

Throughout her life, French-born Francoise Gilot has combined artistic talent with academic achievement. When she was five years old her mother provided her with a set of watercolor paints and instructions. Her father obligated her to study international law. He was so demanding that he taught her to read Baudelaire when she had insomnia. At the age of twenty-one she left the University of Paris to study art at the Academie Julian. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the Sorbonne and a degree in English from Cambridge, she began to express herself through painting and other art forms. Gilot is recognized as a notable artist and important figure within the School of Paris.

From 1946 to 1953 she worked with Picasso, learning, teaching and sharing the wealth of his tremendous talent. During this time she also worked with Henri Matisse, developing a strong friendship with the elderly painter. She lived with Picasso and bore him two children. Long before she met Pablo Picasso in 1943 at the age of 21, she had dreamt of becoming an artist.

Gilot has illustrated four books of her poems. She has acted as a visiting professor of the Department of Painting, Drawing and Etching at the University of California at Idyllwild. She maintains a studio in New York City where she applies paint to canvas daily. She works simultaneously on as many as six canvases. Her palette of choice is almost always dynamic, filled with the vibrancy of primary colors.

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