Olga Khokhlova

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Olga Picasso
Olga Khokhlova.jpg
Olga Khokhlova in Afternoon of a Faun, circa 1916
Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova

(1891-06-17)June 17, 1891
DiedFebruary 11, 1955(1955-02-11) (aged 63)
OccupationBallet dancer
(m. 1918)
ChildrenPaulo Picasso

Olga Picasso, (born Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova, Russian: О́льга Степа́новна Хохло́ва, Ukrainian: О́льга Степа́нівна Хохло́ва, June 17, 1891 – February 11, 1955) was a Russian ballet dancer. She was also the first wife of Pablo Picasso, one of his early artistic muses and the mother of his son, Paulo.

Olga Khokhlova in Picasso's Montrouge studio, spring 1918
Pablo Picasso, spring 1918, Portrait d'Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), oil on canvas, 130 x 88.8 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France


Khokhlova was born in the town of Nizhyn, Chernigov Governorate, (Ukraine, then located in the Russian Empire). Her father Stepan Khokhlov was a Russian officer. Her mother Lydia Zinchenko was of Ukrainian descent. The Khokhlovs family had three sons and two daughters. Olga wanted to be a ballerina from the time she visited France and saw Madame Shroessont 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. She was one of Picasso's first artistic muses.[1]

In July 1919, Pablo and Olga went to London for the performance of Le Tricorne, for which Picasso had designed costumes and sets, according to Diaghilev's wishes. 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.


Paulo, who died on June 5, 1975, was married to Emilienne Lotte. They divorced in 1953.[2] They had two children: Pablito (born on May 5, 1949 – committed suicide on July 2, 1973) and Marina (born on November 14, 1950). Later in life, Paulo married Christiane Pauplin. The couple's only child, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso,[3] co-founded the Picasso Museum in Malaga along with his mother.

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.


  • Richardson, John (2007). A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932. Knopf. ISBN 978-0307266651.
  • Picasso, Marina; Louis Valentin (2001). Picasso, My Grandfather. Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1573221917.


  1. ^ Picasso muses, The Telegraph
  2. ^ Blanc, Jean-Daniel. "Family tree of "Paul" Joseph RUIZ PICASSO". Geneanet. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  3. ^ Blanc, Jean-Daniel. "Family tree of Bernard RUIZ PICASSO". Geneanet. Retrieved 10 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Olga Ruiz Picasso nee Khokhlova at Wikimedia Commons