LAM to host work of influential modern artist

Published 9:06 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

“Francoise Gilot: A Retrospective of Original Prints” will open on Nov. 10 at the LaGrange Art Museum in downtown LaGrange.

The exhibit will feature more than 50 original prints created by one of the foremost female artists of the 20th century. Some of those works have been seen before in LaGrange, but others have never before been part of a public exhibit in the city.

“Francois Gilot’s (works) are from a private collector, and she (Gilot) had her work exhibited here in 2011,” Interim Director of LAM Lauren Oliver said. “She actually came and spoke (at that time), but this year she is 95, going on 96, so she is not going to be able to make it.”

Gilot is well known for her books “Life with Picasso” and “About Women,” but her paintings are significant on their own due to Gilot’s unique position to both observe and participate in the European modern art movement. Her first exhibit premiered in Paris in 1943, and during her time in the city, she met, influenced and was influenced by some of the biggest artistic names of the century.

“In her work, you see influences of the major 20th century artist movements, and in her inner circle was clearly (Pablo) Picasso and (Henri) Matisse and (Georges) Braque,” Oliver said. “You do see her influence there, but she delivers a more feminine take on like the cubist movement and the 20th century modern art movement. Hers is a lot more feminine compared to Picasso’s and even Matisse’s. It kind of has a delicate nature to it, and it doesn’t have as many dark undertones as her influences.”

Gilot’s cubist style tends toward lighter and more rounded shapes than her male counterparts’ works from that period. She is also frequently asked about her relationship with Picasso, which began when she was 21-years-old, and he was 61-years-old.

“She lived a very interesting life,” Oliver said. “She met Picasso in France during the occupation during World War II, and just hearing her perspective of that time period is very interesting, just how she became an artist is really inspiring.”

She had two children with Picasso during the decade that they spent together. She wrote her first book following the end of that relationship and went on to marry Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine pioneer, in 1970. Gilot currently lives in New York.

Her work will be on display at the LaGrange Art Museum from Nov. 10 to Jan. 20. The opening reception will be held on Nov. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibit is sponsored by 85 South Out and About, Renasant Bank, Higgins Funeral Home and George and Nanci Lechacz. For more information, visit