Olga Khokhlova

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Pablo Picasso, 1917-18, Portrait d'Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), oil on canvas, 130 x 88.8 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France

Olga Picasso, Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova (Ukrainian: О́льга Степа́нівна Хо́хлова; Russian: О́льга Степа́новна Хо́хлова, June 17, 1891 – February 11, 1955) was a Russian ballet dancer, but better known as the first wife of Pablo Picasso and the mother of his son, Paulo.

Biography[edit]

Olga Khokhlova was born in Nizhyn, Russian Empire.

Olga wanted to be a ballerina from the time she visited France and saw Madame Shro2jessont perform. She became a member of the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

On May 18, 1917, Olga danced in Parade — a ballet by Sergei Diaghilev, Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau — on its opening night at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Pablo Picasso had designed the costumes and set for the ballet. After meeting Picasso, Olga left the group, which toured South America, and stayed in Barcelona with him. He introduced her to his family. At first his mother was alarmed by the idea that her son should marry a foreigner, so he gave her a painting of Olga as a Spanish girl (Olga Khokhlova in Mantilla). Later Olga returned with Picasso to Paris, where they began to live together on the Rue La Boétie.

Marriage to Picasso[edit]

Olga married Picasso on July 12, 1918 at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at the Rue Daru. Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob were witnesses to the marriage.

In July 1919, Pablo and Olga went to London for the performance of Le Tricorne, for which Picasso again had designed costumes and stage on Diaghilev's wish. The ballet was also performed at the Alhambra in Spain, and was a great success at the Paris Opera in 1919.

On February 4, 1921, Olga gave birth to a boy named Paulo (Paul). From then on, Olga and Picasso's relationship deteriorated. In 1927, Picasso began an affair with a seventeen-year-old French girl, Marie-Thérèse Walter. In 1935, Olga learned of the affair from a friend, who also informed her that Walter was pregnant. Immediately, Olga took Paulo, moved to the South of France, and filed for divorce. Picasso refused to divide his property evenly with her as required by French law, so Olga stayed legally married to him until her death from cancer in Cannes, France in 1955.

Descendants[edit]

Paulo, who died on June 5, 1975, was married to Emilienne Lotte. They had two children: Pablito (born on May 5, 1949 - committed suicide on July 2, 1973) and Marina (born on November 14, 1950).

In 1990, Marina Picasso founded an orphanage in Thu Duc, Vietnam (a former military base). Named "The Village of Youth," it was funded by Marina’s inheritance from her grandfather, Pablo Picasso. Marina’s foundation has also organized the digging of wells in inland Vietnam, sends regular shipments of milk to orphanages and hospitals, and grants farming subsidies and scholarships.

Bibliography[edit]

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