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Picasso’s Beach Body, Baby and Capa’s Camera

20th century

Picasso’s Beach Body, Baby and Capa’s Camera

Summer’s hooooooooot! I dream of going to the beach instead of studying for my exams so I’ve decided to take a short break and dive into the Mediterreanean sea together with a painter who just adored going to the beach. If you too need to breathe some refreshing breeze, or feel like going back to the late 1940s, or just want to look at Picasso’s beach body- keep on reading.

Robert Capa, Pablo Picasso with his companion Françoise Gilot and their son Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos, picasso beach body

Robert Capa, Pablo Picasso, Françoise Gilot and their son Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos

These photos are not a simple documentation of a family’s day on the beach. They are masterpieces in their own right as they were taken by hand of an ingenious photographer, Robert Capa, who’s probably most famous for his outstanding shots of the Spanish Civil War from 1936. In 1947, he founded in Paris a cooperative Magnum Photos together with Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Vandivert, David Seymour, and George Rodger, which was intended to manage work for and by freelance photographers.

Robert Capa, Picasso, Gilot and Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos, picasso beach body

Robert Capa, Picasso, Gilot and Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos


Picasso and Gillot met in a restaurant in 1943, when she was 21 and he was 61. Gillot quickly replaced the previous mistress, Dora Maar (of whom you can read here), by the painter’s side. They never married, as Picasso was still legally married to a Russian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, but they had two children, Claude and Paloma.

Robert Capa, Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. In the background the painter's nephew Javier Vilato, 1948, picasso beach body

Robert Capa, Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. In the background the painter’s nephew Javier Vilato, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos

Gillot is a painter and art critic herself (she is 95 this year!), but some scholars say that her career was terminated because of Picasso. When she left him, as apparently he was violent with her, he influenced all the art dealers he knew to abstain from buying her art.

Robert Capa, Picasso, Gilot and Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos, picasso beach body

Robert Capa, Picasso, Gilot and Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos


However, let’s get back to these cheerful moments from before the storm, when the couple are still so much in love and they are enjoying a perfect afternoon at the Golfe-Juan, a seaside resort on France’s Côte d’Azur.

Robert Capa, Picasso, Gilot and Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos, picasso beach body

Robert Capa, Picasso playing with Claude, 1948, © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

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