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Françoise Gilot: Revelations and Incarnations

September 27, 2011


This past Sunday, I was fortunate to attend a wonderful talk at the Oceanside Museum of Art by Mel Yoakum, Ph.D., about French artist, Francoise Gilot. He recounted her life, struggles and triumphs as an artist. Truly, Madame Gilot, is a woman of substance. She turned 93 this year and continues to paint.

From the OMA site:

Born in Paris in 1921, Françoise Gilot emerged out of the post WWII School of Paris and after moving to New York, was inspired by the contemporary American Art scene. With an interest in mythology and symbolism, Gilot expresses complex philosophical ideas with lyrical accessibility. This exhibition of Gilot’s oils and works on paper highlights her interest in color relationships and the fine line between figuration and abstraction. Also known in the past for her relationship with 20th century icon Pablo Picasso, Gilot resided for many years in La Jolla with her husband Professor Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine American pioneer. Gilot currently divides her time between studios in New York and Paris.

In thinking over the talk, I was struck by something I read this morning by the author of Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak. I will paraphrase and insert my own expression of his feelings about art:

We must try to make sure that our art, collectively speaking, reveals, incarnates, and expresses thoughts and feelings to their ultimate clarity, instead of being only a reminder of sounds which originally charmed us, an inconsequential echo dying in the air.

Let us preserve what is the finer expression of being human – the legacy of the artist and their art, not allowing their life and expression of life to become an inconsequential echo dying in the air but instead, continue on as a living echo to inform and engage future generations of what we are as humans, our loves, our difficulties, our celebrations.

Paris Review, Boris Pasternak, The Art of Fiction No. 25, Summer-Fall 1960 http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4679/the-art-of-fiction-no-25-boris-pasternak

Oceanside Museum of Art http://www.oma-online.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:transitions&catid=8:current-exhibits&Itemid=129

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