Germaine Pichot

  • Germaine Pichotís original name was Laure Gargallo; she was a relative of a sculptor named Pablo Gargallo, who was a friend of Pablo Picasso.  She got married while she was still in her teens and took her husbands last name of Florentin; this was the name she was going by when she first met Picasso in Paris.

 

  • Germaine was an attractive artistís model in Paris.  She also worked as a laundress and seamstress.

 

  • When Picasso and his friend Casagemas moved to Paris in 1900, the first people that the two friends befriended were Louise Lenoir (known as Odette) and Germaine.  Picasso began having an affair with Odette while Casagemas fell in love with Germaine.  During this time Casagemas found out he was impotent which threw him into a deep depression from which he never recovered from.  Picasso hoped to revive Casagemas and erase all thoughts of Germaine from his head so he took his friend on a tour through Spain. 

 

  • Early in 1901, Casagemas returned to Paris without Picasso.  He threw a party for seven people at the restaurant LíHippodrome, which was located in the building he lived in.  One of the guests was Germaine.  During dinner, Casagemas stood up, delivered a speech in French, then pulled a gun out of his pocket and aimed it at Germaine.  She was able to dodge the bulletís full impact by diving under the table and suffered only a flesh wound to her upper body.  Casagemas, on the other hand, angry at his failure to shoot Germaine, turned the gun on himself.  He died of the bullet wound to his head almost immediately. 

 

  • Picasso, shocked at his friendís tragic demise, seemed to blame himself for Casagemasís death.    He began painting the death of Casagemas (even though he had not witnessed it) and his burial.  Casagemasís suicide triggered Picassoís Blue Period.

 

Le suicide (Casagemas).  1901

 

  • When Picasso returned to Paris after his friendís death he upset many of his friends by ending his relationship with Odette and starting up an affair with Germaine, who did not seem too affected by Casagemasís death. 

 

  • After a while, Germaine and Picasso split up and Germaine married Ramon Pichot, a friend of Picassoís.  Evidently, Germaine was not faithful to her new husband and had many affairs with men from the circus.

 

  • Germaine appears in a number of Picassoís paintings such as Two Saltimbanques (Harlequin and His Companion) (1901), Woman with a Shawl (1902), La Vie (1903), Au Lapin Agile (1905), and The Three Dancers (1925).

  

Left:  Les deux Saltimbanques.  1901; Right:  Woman with a Shawl.  1902

 

  • The young man in La Vie was originally a self-portrait of Picasso.  Picasso eventually replaced his own face with that of Casagemas and gave the young woman next to him the face of Germaine.

 

La Vie.  1903.

 

  • Picasso was painting The Three Dancers when he found out about his friend Ramon Pichotís death.  In an interview, Picasso has said that he always felt that the title of the painting should have been The Death of Pinchot.  The death of Pichot seemed to have reminded Picasso of the death of Casagemas years ago and so the painting of The Three Dancers took on various deeper meanings.  The tall shadowy dancer on the right is the presence of Pichot, the crazed dancer on the left is Germaine, and Casagemas in the middle as a sort of crucified figure.   

The Three Dancers.  1925

 

  • Picasso's wife, Francoise Gilot, wrote in her biography that during the 1950's Picasso took her to visit an old woman once.  The old woman was Germaine Pichot.  Picasso told Francoise:  I want you to learn about life...That woman's name is Germaine Pichot.  She's old and toothless and poor and unfortunate now.  But when she was young she was very pretty and she made a painter friend of mine suffer so much that he committed suicide...She turned a lot of heads.  Now look at her." 

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