Picasso's Women: Germaine Gargallo Florentin Pichot

© 2006 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Used with permission
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). The Two Saltimbanques (Harlequin and his Companion), 1901. Oil on canvas. 28 7/16 x 23 3/8 in. (73 x 60 cm). Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. © 2006 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Her Connection to Pablo Picasso:

Roommate > Lover > Friend

Her Years with Picasso:

1900-1948

Germaine Gargallo Florentin Pichot (1880-1948) entered Picasso's life in 1900 when the young artists from Barcelona arrived in Paris and stayed at Isidre Nonell's studio at 49 rue Gabriel. Germaine and her "sister" - Gertrude Stein claimed that Germaine had many "sisters" - Antoinette Fornerod served as models and lovers.

She was not related to Picasso's friend Pau Gargallo, but did claim to be part Spanish. She spoke Spanish, as did Antoinette. Another young model, who called herself Odette (her real name was Louise Lenoir) hooked up with Picasso. Odette did not speak Spanish and Picasso did not speak French.

Germaine's claim to fame in Picasso's biography stems from her liaison with Picasso's best friend Carles or Carlos Casagemas (1881-1901) who accompanied Picasso to Paris that fall in 1900. Picasso had just turned 19. The Catalan artist Casagemas fell madly in love with Germaine, even though she was already married.

Manuel Pallarès i Grau (known as "Pajaresco") joined his Catalan bros about 10 days later at Nonell's studio so that six people were now living for the next two months in a large -- but not that large -- studio. Pallarès set up a schedule for everything from working on their art to "enjoying" their respective lady friends.

Picasso and Casagemas returned to Barcelona in time for Christmas.

The love-sick Casagemas decided to return to Paris the following February without Picasso. He desperately wanted Germaine to live with him -- to be his financée, even though she was already married to some guy named Florentin. Germaine also confessed to Pallarès that Casagemas had not consummated the relationship.

She refused Casagemas' request.

On February 17, 1901, Casagemas went out to dinner with friends at the L'Hippodrome, drank a lot and at about 9:00 p.m. stood up, gave a short speech and then pulled out a revolver. He shot Germaine, grazed her temple with a bullet and then shot himself in the head.

Picasso was in Madrid and did not attend the memorial service in Barcelona.

When Picasso returned to Paris in May 1901 he took up with Germaine. Germaine married a member of Picasso's Catalan group, Ramon Pichot (1872-1925), in 1906 and remained in Picasso's life well into his later years.

Known Examples of Germaine Pichot in Picasso's Art:

  • Germaine, 1900, sale at Christie's May 9, 2009.
  • The Two Saltimbanques (Harlequin and his Companion), 1901, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.
  • La Vie, 1903, The Cleveland Museum of Art.
  • Au Lapin Agile, 1904-05, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Date and Place of Death:

Paris, 1948

Françoise Gilot recalled a visit she and Picasso made to Madame Pichot in Montmartre in the mid 1940s. Germaine was old, sick and toothless by then. Picasso knocked on the door, did not wait for an answer, walked in and said a few things. Then he left some money on the nightstand.

According to Gilot, it was Picasso's way of showing her a vanitas.

Sources:

Gilot, Françoise with Carlton Lake. Life with Picasso.
New York/London/Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 1964

Richardson, John. A Life of Picasso, Volume 1: 1881-1906.
New York: Random House, 1991.

Tinterow, Gary (et. al.). Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010.

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Gersh-Nesic, Beth. "Picasso's Women: Germaine Gargallo Florentin Pichot." ThoughtCo, Dec. 1, 2015, thoughtco.com/germaine-gargallo-florentin-pichot-183001. Gersh-Nesic, Beth. (2015, December 1). Picasso's Women: Germaine Gargallo Florentin Pichot. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/germaine-gargallo-florentin-pichot-183001 Gersh-Nesic, Beth. "Picasso's Women: Germaine Gargallo Florentin Pichot." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/germaine-gargallo-florentin-pichot-183001 (accessed December 12, 2017).