If you ask any artist the top art books that they read while going to school, you will get a wide variety of responses but as for me my favorite art book that I still enjoy reading every few years is Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot.
The Authority on Picasso?
Francoise Gilot should be considered the foremost Picasso expert since she spent eight years of her life with him and bore two of his children. Who else can claim to have known Picasso so intimately than Françoise?
The book starts out when Gilot is a young girl towards the end of World War II when she meets Picasso while sitting in a restaurant with friends, Picasso, always the ladies’ man, hits on both young girls and invites them to his studio.
A few days later Francoise visits Picasso’s studio in Paris with her friend and they stay for hours as Picasso shows them his latest work. As they are leaving Picasso extends the invitation to Francoise to visit him again which she ultimately does and their “romance” blossoms, much to the disappointment of her parents.
Why Read This Book?
At the time that this book was written Francoise Gilot was said to have had a photographic memory and was able to remember almost everything she had done and said with Picasso during their relationship together.
This book also chronicles Picasso’s relationship with other artists like Henri Matisse and it gives the reader an intimate perspective into his technique and philosophies on art.
Although it was largely panned when it was released in 1996, Surviving Picasso is one of the best depictions of Francoise Gilot’s book: Life with Picasso. Even though critics like Gilot and Picasso’s family hated this movie and called it inaccurate, the film does the story justice and it’s one of the best films about painting and art to come out in the last 20 years.
Thanks to the internet you can download Life with Picasso for free if you use an ereader like Barnes and Nobles Kindle or you can order if off www.amazon.com.
Surviving Picasso is also available for sale through Amazon and rental through Netflix.