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Break of Day


Dated Titled


205 x 238 cm
80.71 x 94 in







View in a Room

1921 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Born in 1921 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Gilot, at age 5 declared that she would become a painter. Her mother tutored her with watercolor and India ink. Formal studies began in 1934, and, over the objections of her father who envisioned a career in law or science; she pursued her interest in art. Her first exhibit was held during the Nazi occupation of Paris. Sadly, her earliest drawings and watercolors were lost in a German bombing raid.

In 1943, Gilot met Pablo Picasso, 40 years her senior, at a Left Bank restaurant and they began a decade-long relationship. She joined his circle of legendary artists and intelligentsia including Braque, Miro, Gertrude Stein and Simone de Beauvoir. In 1946, she met Henri Matisse and became a friend and admirer. He said, "Whenever Francoise draws a bird, no matter how remote from reality it may be, it flies."

Françoise Gilot never insisted on a particular subject matter, she believed in the process of painting. Unlike her ex-husband, Picasso, she prefers to let shapes and colours evolve, and the painting process guides her. In this work, intuitive, less figurative shapes were last-minute thoughts.

From the 1970s, Gilot began painting on larger canvases in less traditional compositions. She started to use solutions that require more spontaneity and less formalism. It uses a technique similar to Japanese kakemonos or Tibetan large tanks. She begins to paint on unstretched and ungrounded cotton canvas with acrylic paint. She calls the large and painted on both sides paintings "floating paintings," which "can move and fly freely."


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