Françoise Gilot, La Femme Fleur

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When I was living in Paris the favourite book I read on life in the 1940s in the French Capital was Françoise Gilot’s memoir Life With Picasso.

The love affair between Pablo Picasso, aged 61, and Gilot, 21, began in Paris in the spring of 1943 during the German occupation of France. She was a student of art, the only child of a domineering father who brought her up as if she had been his son. In her mood of rebellion she found in Picasso a gentleness and depth of understanding she had not known in any other man. They were to live together for the next ten years; she was to bear him two children.

In 1946 Picasso painted a series of portraits of Gilot called Femme Fleur (that loosely translates as the Flower Woman). Françoise’s hair was painted as a leaf canopy, her body a stem sunk into the earth.

Femme Fleur, Picasso, 1946

The paintings have an intriguing relationship to a well-known 1948 Robert Capa photo of the two at the beach.

She, and the paintings, are the inspiration behind the name of my business which was inspired by my life in Paris.

Untitled, Robert Capa, 1948


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