This week we’ll be talking about the women who influenced Pablo Picasso and his work. The painter did not lead a solitary life, far from it: Picasso was quite the ladies man! Women played a central role in both his professional and personal life, and were often an essential source of inspiration. In this article, KAZoART gives you a closer look at the love life of one of the most fascinating painters of the 20th century.

Art’necdote #31 • Pablo Picasso

Picasso was born in Spain in 1881 yet he spent most of his life in France, first in Paris then further south. He is best known for his involvement, alongside Georges Braque, in the Cubism movement. His artistic explorations led him to develop many styles throughout his life and he is now considered one of the most influential artists in the history of modern art.

Picasso always had a woman by his side and seldom lived alone. Portraits, nudes, drawings, sculptures, etc. He depicted his partners from all perspectives! In addition to inspiring him, they were also his closest confidants, encouraging him to take his creations even further.

 Picasso in 1956 in his workshop at his villa
Picasso in 1956 in his workshop at his villa “La Californie”, Cannes

Fernande Olivier and the Rose Period

Picasso’s first relationship in Paris was with Fernande. She was a model whose real name was in fact Amélie Lang. He transitioned from his melancholic Blue Period to his more optimistic Pink Period by her side.

 Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Fernande Olivier au foulard
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Fernande Olivier au foulard, 1906, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Eva Gouel and Cubism

Explored Cubism during his relationship with Eva, and she appears in several paintings from this period, often associated with a guitar. After separating from Fernande in 1912, Picasso met Eva. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last long, since she died of tuberculosis in 1915. Picasso

Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair
Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair, (Femme en chemise assise dans un fauteuil) 1913, collection Mme Ganz, New York.

Olga Khokhlova and classicism

Olga, a Russian dancer was Picasso’s first wife. He led a comfortable life with her in a wealthy area of Paris. 
His paintings veered towards a very different style from the previous period, closer to refined classicism, similar to the works of Ingres.

 Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Olga in an armchair
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Olga in an armchair, 1918, Musée Picasso, Paris

Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar, surrealism

Picasso met Marie-Thérèse Walter in 1926 when she was just 17 years old. He was still with Olga, but that did not stop him from pursuing a relationship with Marie-Thérèse. Ten years later, in 1936, Dora Maar caught the painter’s eye, and the same thing happened: she became his lover. Picasso started openly seeing both women at the same time. During this long, more Surrealist period, colour and defragmentation made a come-back, and Picasso painted many portraits of his two muses. Picasso’s style started to mature at this point.

Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Marie-Thérèse Walter, 1937
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Marie-Thérèse Walter, 1937
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Dora Maar, 1937
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Dora Maar, 1937

Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque, the final years

Picasso met Françoise Gilot in 1943 when she was just 21 years old and he was 62! Three years later, he moved to Vallauris where he started working with ceramics. Françoise eventually left him in 1953, and the painter met the last of his lovers, Jacqueline Roque, who later became his second wife. They lived together, in their villa near Cannes, until the artist passed away in April 1973. His last two muses brought him peace of mind and are perceived as a culmination to his work and research.

Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Françoise Gilot, 1946, Musée Picasso
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Françoise Gilot, 1946, Musée Picasso
Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline aux mains croisée, 1954, RMN-GP
Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline aux mains croisée, 1954, RMN-GP

Similar artist(s) at KAZoART • Pascal Marlin

The collages created by KAZoART’s Pascal Marlin remind us of Picasso’s style.

 Pascal Marlin, Couple in black & white 2
Pascal Marlin, Couple in black & white 2, 2014