A Tribute to Françoise Gilot – E. John Bullard, Director Emeritus, New Orleans Museum of Art

This 2011exhibition at the Vincent Mann Gallery of works by Françoise Gilot marks a nearly forty-year relationship between this great artist and New Orleans' longest operating gallery for contemporary art. This has been due to the keen eye and business acumen of Jacob Manguno, an artist himself and the gallery's founder, who has maintained a close and cordial friendship with Gilot over the decades. Certainly New Orleans, the most French city in America, was the most appropriate place in America to nurture a passionate relationship with Gilot. In her long and distinguished career, she has been a bridge between the heroic period of the School of Paris and the emergence of New York City as the new world center for contemporary art. While she has lived in New York and La Jolla, California, for many years, I believe that she has found a cultural home in New Orleans.

From Gilot's first exhibition at the Vincent Mann Gallery in 1972, her work has enjoyed a welcome reception among collectors here in Louisiana and across the country. The rich color of her canvases and the great variety of classic subject matter − still lifes, landscapes, figurative groups, nudes, as well as brilliant abstractions − immediately appealed to American collectors, who have avidly acquired and treasured her paintings, drawings and prints for years. I am pleased that the New Orleans Museum of Art possesses several works by Gilot.

Françoise Gilot has had an extraordinary life. Her relationship with Pablo Picasso and friendship with many of his great contemporaries, like Matisse and Braque, later was followed by her long marriage to Dr. Jonas Salk. Surrounded by such geniuses, she has maintained her independence and distinct personality in both painting and writing, developing her own unique style. Gilot's beauty, intelligence, humor, and artistic talent has set a high standard that has been an inspiration to others. Her many friends and admirers in New Orleans look forward to welcoming her again to our city to enjoy another exhibition of her extraordinary paintings surveying her long career.

E. John Bullard
Director Emeritus
New Orleans Museum of Art