Francoise Gilot was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France in 1921. She would become an important artist and author that would influence generations after her. Her mother was an artist and began teaching her daughter art at the age of five. Her father would push her to get an education and influence her writing talents. She attended Cambridge University, the British Institute in Paris and the Sorbonne. Gilot would study law, but she could not ignore her true love of art. She would graduate with a degree in Philosophy in 1938 and English in 1939.
In 1943, Francoise Gilot met Pablo Picasso and would soon become a student, muse and lover to him. He exposed her to an artist circle made of such notables as Braque, Miro, Gertrude Stein and Simone de Beauvoir. She also met Henri Matisse and the two became good friends. By the 1950’s, Gilot’s style began to move away from cubist influences of Picasso and developed into a more organic style all her own. She created works on paper and layers of gouache. She was also becoming interested in the American art scene. In the 1960s, she traveled to the United States and exhibited her work. Francoise Gilot is known for a vibrant color palette.
Francoise Gilot is also an accomplished writer and poet. She authored and illustrated books, many of which were about the artists in her life. She worked at the University of California at Idyllwild as a visiting professor of the Department of Painting, Drawing and Etching. She maintains a studio in New York City and in Paris. She works on as many as six canvases at a time.