Portrait de Femme (Françoise)194625 7/8 x 19 7/8 in.(65.72 x 50.48 cm) colored wax crayons on paper
ProvenanceEstate of the artist
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (acquired from the above, by 1986)
PaceWildenstein, New York (acquired from the above)
The Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel, July 1997
Sale: Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale, Featuring the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel, 2 Dec 2020, Lot 121
Private Collection, California
Françoise Gilot was Picasso's muse and lover for nearly a decade beginning in 1946, the year he created this drawing. She became an iconic recurring image in the artist's work, reinvigorating his practice with a sense of joy after the dark period of World War II, and many of these portraits remained in his collection for the rest of his life. Picasso often drew Gilot from memory, thereby rendering her as more of a symbol or an ideal than as a model. As Michael Fitzgerald notes, “Picasso's portraits of Françoise were not drawn from life…unlike in the cases of Picasso's other wives and mistresses, there are almost none that reproduce her features strictly" (Michael Fitzgerald, "A Triangle of Ambitions: Art, Politics, and Family during the Postwar Years with Françoise Gilot," in Picasso and Portraiture, London, 1996, p. 416). On the significance of Gilot to this period for Picasso, Frank Elgar writes, "the portraits of Françoise Gilot have a Madonna-like appearance, in contrast to the tormented figures he was painting a few years earlier" (Frank Elgar, Picasso, New York, 1972, p. 123).