b. 1921, France
Françoise Gilot is a French painter and bestselling author. She is also known as the lover and artistic muse of Pablo Picasso from 1944 to 1953, and the mother of his children, Claude Picasso and Paloma Picasso. She later married the American vaccine pioneer, Jonas Salk. Gilot was more than just Picasso's lover: she was a mother, organizer, muse, conversation partner, hostess, artist, and an art critic. In 1973 Gilot was appointed as the Art Director of the scholarly journal "Virginia Woolf Quarterly." In 1976 she was made a member of the board of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. She held summer courses there and took on organizational responsibilities until 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s she designed costumes, stage sets, and masks for productions at the Guggenheim in New York. She was awarded a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, in 1990. Gilot married the artist Luc Simon in 1955. The couple divorced in 1962. They had a daughter, Aurelia. In 1969, Gilot was introduced to Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine pioneer, at the home of mutual friends in La Jolla, California. Their shared appreciation of architecture led to a brief courtship and they were married in 1970 in Paris. They remained married until Salk's death in 1995. During her marriage, she continued painting in New York, La Jolla, and Paris. As of April 2002 Gilot lives in New York City and Paris, working on behalf of the Salk Institute in California, and continues to exhibit her work internationally. She exhibited as recently as May 2012 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City.
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