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“I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages of my journal, and as such they are valid.”

— Francoise Gilot, French, painter, author Matisse and Picasso: A Friendship in Art


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Françoise Gilot is a French painter, critic, and bestselling author. In 1973 Gilot was appointed as the Art Director of the scholarly journal Virginia Woolf Quarterly. In 1976 she was made a member of the board of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. She held summer courses there and took on organizational responsibilities until 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s she designed costumes, stage sets, and masks for productions at the Guggenheim in New York. She was awarded a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, in 1990.

She is also known as the lover and artistic muse of Pablo Picasso from 1944 to 1953, and the mother of his children, Claude and Paloma. She later married the American vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk.

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