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Olga in an Armchair

Great paintings : Artists private life. Today's portrait is "Olga in an Armchair" by Pablo Picasso (1917-18)

This painting introduces us to Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova (June, 1891 – February, 1955) a Russian ballet dancer, Picasso's first wife and the mother of his son Paulo. They both met in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet ; at that time Olga was dancing in the ballet Parade ( May 18, 1917-music by Erik Satie and scenario by Jean Cocteau) as a member of the Ballets Russes, while Picasso designed himself the costumes and set for that ballet (the first collaboration between Satie and Picasso). In July 12, 1918 the couple got married at the The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris. "Picasso's involvement with Olga and the Ballet Russes revolutionised his life style as he started to mix with high society, following the troupe around Europe" (pablopicasso.org). But things sadly went wrong between the couple after the birth of Paulo in 1921 until they left each other in 1935 (separated but not divorced). Olga spent the rest of her life in south France until she died in 1955 of cancer, while Picasso continued his normal life as an artist until he died in 1973 at Notre Dame de Vie in Mougins.

Learn more about this portrait, click here The "Olga in an Armchair" painting can be found at the Musée Picasso Paris.