Françoise Gilot, Genetic Patterns, 1991. Lithograph.
June 11, 2024

Françoise Gilot’s Artistry Celebrated in New Berman Museum Exhibition

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College opens a new exhibition this summer to honor the late Françoise Gilot and highlight their expansive collection of her works and archives.

Françoise Gilot (French/American, 1921-2023) worked as a painter and printmaker for over 70 years, wresting visual statements from form and color. Through her explorations and transitions as an artist, Gilot both maintained tradition and pushed into uncharted territory, securing her work and place within the canon of art history.

In the year since Gilot’s passing in June 2023, numerous media outlets have centered her story around her 10-year relationship with the 20th-century titan Pablo Picasso. While she was often Picasso’s muse, she was also an artist in her own right, before and after the relationship. To acknowledge her significance beyond her ties to Picasso’s personal life, the Picasso Museum in Paris recently dedicated a gallery to her work.

The Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College is also uniquely positioned to cement Gilot’s legacy as an artist. In addition to her personal archives, the museum houses over 270 works of art by Gilot, including the most comprehensive collection of her lithographs and etchings outside the artist’s estate.

Gilot’s history with the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College.

The museum’s upcoming exhibition focuses on how Gilot pushed the boundaries of her craft in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. With an emphasis on artistic process, Shaping Freedom Through Abstraction features lithograph matrices exhibited alongside corresponding completed works, large-scale oil paintings and round canvases, and materials from the Gilot Archives on view for the first time.

To complement the exhibition, the Berman Museum of Art has also digitized its holdings of Gilot’s art, developed a detailed account of her life and career, and produced oral history recordings with the artist’s curator, archivist, and friend, Mel Yoakum, Ph.D. These materials will be accessible on the museum website beginning June 18.

Digitizing the Gilot Collection.

Françoise Gilot: Shaping Freedom Through Abstraction opens concurrently with Enrique Bostelmann: Apertures and Borderscapes, an exhibition exploring the Mexican photographer’s legacy of artistic experimentation. Both shows will run from June 18 to December 15, 2024.

About Françoise Gilot

Françoise Gilot (French/American, 1921-2023) holds an important place in the history of modern and contemporary art. One of the most prevailing artists from the post-WWII School of Paris, she led a 70-year career and created over 1,500 paintings and 4,000 works on paper. In addition to her oil paintings and printmaking, she is remembered for her writings on the artistic titans of the twentieth century.

View the previous exhibition of Gilot’s works.