Exactly 41 years ago today, the art world lost one of its most influential and invaluable figures, Pablo Picasso.
Picasso continued to work relentlessly until the final years of his life in an apparent superstitious belief that doing so would continue to keep him alive. In fact, just 10 days before he died, the artist was even personally overseeing the assembly of 201 of his paintings that will be put up on exhibit at the Avignon Arts Festival in May that same year.
It is widely known that Picasso spend most of his adult life in France. By the time he married his second wife Jacqueline Roque in the early ‘60s, he had already acquired large villas in the southern part of the country. Picasso and Roque were entertaining friends at a dinner party held at his chateau at the commune of Mougins near Cannes when he suffered a fatal heart attack. According to a biography on IMDB, Picasso’s last words were supposedly, “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore.” Aside from Roque, son Paolo was also there at the time.
Local physician Jean-Claude Rance attributed the artist’s death to pulmonary edema, adding that he had actually been ill for several weeks prior. Picasso’s remains were interred at another one of his properties, the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence.
Following his death, Picasso, who was already celebrated while still alive, gained considerably more admirers. He reportedly left his art collection composed of works by Cezanne, Braque, and Matisse to Paris’ Louvre Museum. Meanwhile, his wealth was divided among his wife, as well as all his children and grandchildren – but not before a long legal battle between members of his family.
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