Collage of portraits of Picasso kids

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Collage of Picasso heirs by Picasso

Who where Pablo Picasso’s children?

A REASONED PABLO PICASSO'S FAMILY TREE

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga (Sout of Spain), but he spent most of his teenage years in Barcelona. There he received a formal artistic education in the most prestigious local art school, and he also met the bohemian modernist artists that showed him there were other ways to produce art. He then moved to France, where he’ll evolve through his famous Blue and Pink periods, until he became the starter of the Cubist style completely transforming the Art History.

But along this, he met many women who inspired him and gave everything to the artist. The women of Picasso were key in his art, that often reflects his love life. And he had kids with some of them, too. Although often Picasso’s children remained shadowed by their father, and people has been more interested in their inheritance fights than them as a family. Let’s discover together the intricate Picasso family tree.

The Picasso Family where Picasso was born

1

Jose Ruiz y Blasco (1838-1913) - Picasso's father

Picasso Family Facts: His father Jose Ruiz was an art teacher

Jose Ruiz was the father of Pablo Picasso and the head of Picasso's family. He was an academical artist specialized in still natures, pigeons and landscape. He was an art teacher first in his hometown Malaga, then for a brief period in La Coruña (North of Spain), then finally in the prestigious La Llotja of Barcelona. It was him who gave Picasso his artistical base, encouraging him to paint from a young age, up to the point that at age 13 Picasso was already a master of portrait. And thanks to him Picasso was admitted in La Llotja despite being underage.

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Maria Picasso y Lopez (1855-1938) - Picasso's mother

Maria Picasso was the mother of Pablo Picasso, and the artists soon started using her last name once in Paris, maybe because it was easier than Ruiz for the French to pronounce, or because Picasso was more unique than the Spanish last name Ruiz, that is as common as Smith to English.

She came from an Italian family that had emigrated to Spain two generations earlier. Her father died of yellow fevers, and she grew up with her three sisters and mother until she married Jose Ruiz, who was 17 years older. Maria always believed in Picasso’s talent, and lovingly kept the drawings, sketches and paintings the kid produced while still in the household. Her collection became the base of the Picasso Museum of Barcelona.

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Conchita and Lola - Picasso's sisters

Pablo Picasso had two siblings. The least known of them was the youngest: Conchita (a nickname for Maria de la Concepción). She sadly died of diffteria in 1895 when she was only 7 years old. The family lived in La Coruña by then, Some say the young Picasso was so distrought by her illness that he promised God to quit painting if He spared her life. And that probably Conchita's death scarred him so much that it affected his adult life as an adult.

Picasso’s other sister was Lola (Maria de los Dolores). She was 3 years younger than Pablo, and she was a frequent model of the artist during his early years. She married a neuropsychiatrist, Juan Bautista Vilato Gomez, and they had 6 kids. Two of them, Jose and Javier, became painters. After 1926 her mother Maria moved in with them. She passed away in 1958.

All the Pablo Picasso kids, legitimate and illegitime

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Paulo Picasso (1921-1975), Picasso's only legitimate child

Paulo Picasso was the only legitimate child of Picasso, son of the artist and the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova - his first official wife. His early childhood was happy: Picasso was treating his wife right, and he maid several portraits of her and of the young Paulo often dressed up as a harlequin. The drama started when in 1927 Picasso started a romance with Marie Thérèse Walter and Olga wants divorce. Eventually Olga and Paulo moved to the South of France when the kid was 14 years old.

Already an adult, Paulo worked as a private driver for his father, who constantly insulted him and paid him very poorly, leading poor Paulo to alcoholism. Paulo married Emilienne Lotte, who gave him two children: Pablito Picasso (1949-1973) and Marina Picasso (born 1950). After months after Marina was born, Paulo quitted Emilienne to marry Christine Paulpin, with whom he had one sone, Bernard Picasso (1959). Paulo died of liver cancer two years after Pablito’s terrible suicide by drinking bleach.

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Maya Widmaier-Picasso (Born 1935)

Picasso's mistress Marie Thérèse Walter, who was 29 years younger than the artist and still underage (17 years old) when they started seeing each other, gave Pablo Picasso one daughter. She was called Maria de la Concepcion, in honor to Picasso's late sister Conchita. But they eventually nicknamed her Maya, because that's how the baby pronounced "Maria" in her gibberish baby talk. Picasso was thrilled to have a little girl, and that shows in the many portraits he paints of her. 

When Picasso started seeing Dora Maar in 1935, Marie Thérèse and Maya moved to Versailles but Picasso continued to visit them on the weekends. Maya continued to have a relationship with his dad even when he had children with his next lover, François Gilot. She used to visit them in Antibes and even taught Picasso how to swim.

Maya married Pierre Widmaier (that she divorced later on) and they had three children: Olivier, Richard and Diana. Maya’s carreer has been to study and preserve Pablo Picasso’s art, a path that was been followed by her daughter Diana, who is an art historian specialized in Picasso, too. Maya’s son Olivier has written a biography of Picasso intitled “Picasso: the real family story”.

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Claude Picasso (Born 1947)

Claude Picasso was the first child Pablo Picasso had with his lover Françoise Gilot. In those times Picasso lived in Vallauris where he learned the techniques to make ceramics, and that's why Claude was named after the patron saint of potters. Although it is also said that Gilot named him after the French Rococo artists Claude Gillot, a mentor of Watteau. It's one of those trivia family facts that we'll never be able to confirm...

By 1953, the relationship between Picasso and Gilot wasn’t working anymore, as Picasso was cheating on her with Geneviève Laporte, so they split up and Gilot took her children with her. Two years later Gilot married Luc Simon, with whom she had another child, Aurelia. In 1958 Claude and his sister Paloma visited Picasso in Cannes, and two years later François Gilot legally recognized the last name Picasso for her children and broke up with Simon . However, the relationship with his father cooled when Françoise Gilot published her “Life with Picasso” and the artist felt outraged about it.

Claude worked as an assistant of the famous photographer Richard Avedon. In 1995 he founded the Picasso Administration to control copyrights, authenticity certificates and other legal matters.

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Paloma Picasso (Born 1949)

Paloma was the second daughter and last child of Pablo Picasso. It is possible that her name (Paloma means "dove" in Spanish) comes from the famous drawing of a dove of peace Picasso designed for the World Peace Council the year she was born. Paloma inherited her mother's strong will (Françoise Gilot was the only woman to ever dare quitting Picasso). And she was stylish by nature, too. At age 6 she insisted on wearing red rouge on her lips to go to school... So it's not strange that she developed a career in beauty and fashion.

She was always interested in design, collaborating with the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and the Greek jewelry Zolotas. But she lost her will to create after her father passed away. That year se played a role in the erotic film Immoral Tales, but she didn’t act anymore despite the good critics.

In 1978 she married the Argentinian playwright and director Rafael Lopez-Sanchez (born Lopez-Cambil), and two years later she started working for Tiffany & Co. In 1984 she launched her own line of perfume and skin cosmetics with L’Oreal, and in 1987 she created her iconic line of lipstick Mon Rouge also with L’Oreal. Unfortunately Mon Rouge was discontinued after in 1999 Paloma divorced her husband, who claimed a millionaire compensation for having helped her to build her brand.

She then married the osteopathy doctor Eric Thévenet, with whom he continues to live between Switzerland and Morocco. She’s continued to create accessories from sunglasses to sheets and towels, as well as home design items such as porcelain, cristal or silverwear. She hasn’t had any children.

Who are the current Picasso heirs?

Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of the XX century, and unlike other artists like Dali, he was well advised when it came to money and he built a wonderful wealth. However, he never left a will and when he passed away in 1973 chaos started. There was only one legitimate child, Paulo, and Picasso's widow Jacqueline. But there were 3 illegitimate children (Maya, Paloma and Claude). And the French Government demanded millions in concept of tax inheritance... 

So let’s get down to the facts! Picasso had left more than 45,000 pieces, 2 châteaux and three more villas, some $4.5 millions in cash and $1.3 millions in gold. Plus stocks and a personal art collection that included Cezannes, Matisses, Miros… The legal war had started. And the France disposed the auctioneer Maurice Rheims and his team to create a complete inventory… that took 6 years to complete (1974-1981).

In 1975 Paulo passed away, and his children Marina and Bernard took his place as legal heirs. And finally Maya, Paloma and Claude were given the status of legal heirs as well. Part of the agreement included the collaboration of the heirs to create the Picasso Musée of Paris. In 1986 Jacqueline Roque killed herself, unable to live without Pablo Picasso. Her daughter from a previous marriage Catherine (Cathy) Hutin-Blay inherited Jacqueline’s collection of Picasso works as well as the Chateau de Vauvenargues, where Jacqueline and Picasso are buried.

In 1996 a French court made Claude Picasso the legal manager of Picasso’s works and properties, creating the Picasso Administration to protect the heirs interests and control de artist’s rights, licenses and authenticity certificates, among other legal questions. That didn’t settle the issues, though, as the heirs haven’t always agreed on the decisions that are taken.

For instance, Marina felt outraged when in 1998 Citroen was allowed to use the name Picasso for a line of cars (it had been Maya’s son’s idea). Marina wasn’t alone to complain: the director of the Musée Picasso of Paris and the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (a close friend of Picasso) publicly expressed their opinions of how inappropriate it was.

Also, while originally Maya was trusted by auctioneers to authenticate Picasso’s works, Claude became to authenticate too. Then both signatures started to be required, but they’ll often have opposite opinions, what made the procedures very complex. Then in 2012 Claude, Paloma, Marina and Bertrand unilaterally decided that only Claude’s signature would be valid. Maya declared that she “nearly died” when she learnt about it from a friend. However, even if she’s not officially part of the authentication process, her opinions are still regularly consulted and taken into account. She’s not in the best terms with Claude, though. 

And more recently, Marina Picasso and her son Florian have tried to sell a series of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of a Picasso ceramic work, but they have been stopped by the layers of the Picasso Administration. If you want to learn more about the intricate legal battles of Picasso’s heirs, Vanity Fair has a very detailed report published in 2016.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about Pablo Picasso children!

Marta

Author Marta Laurent Veciana

AUTHOR BIO

Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.

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