Claude Ruiz Picasso, the French/Spanish photographer, film director, and eldest son of the leading 20th-century painter Pablo Picasso, has died aged 76. From 1989 until July this year, he managed his father’s estate, which he handed over to his younger sister, the jewellery designer Paloma, last month.
Born in 1947, he studied in England and France and moved to live in New York between 1967 and 1974. He was an assistant to the great photographer Richard Avedon and became a photojournalist. He is, however, best known for his roles as a curator and advocate for his father’s estate. He played a significant part in preserving and promoting the artistic heritage of Pablo Picasso. Claude Picasso was born in Paris, France, to Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot (who died earlier this year aged 101), an accomplished artist and writer. Growing up surrounded by art and creativity, he was exposed to his father’s work and the art world from an early age.
Claude Picasso didn’t pursue an extensive career as a painter like his father, but he has been instrumental in curating and organising exhibitions showcasing Pablo Picasso’s works. He played a pivotal role in curating major exhibitions that explored different periods of his father’s artistic career. His deep understanding of his father’s work allowed him to curate collections that shed light on various aspects of Picasso’s creative evolution.
Claude also managed his father’s estate, which involved preserving, cataloguing, and authenticating his father’s artworks. He worked tirelessly to protect and promote the integrity of Picasso’s legacy, addressing issues related to forgeries and unauthorised reproductions of his father’s works.
Claude was a vocal advocate for appreciating and studying his father’s art. He has been involved in philanthropic efforts to support art education, museums, and institutions dedicated to studying Pablo Picasso’s work. His involvement helps ensure that future generations continue to engage with and learn from his father’s artistic contributions.
Claude Picasso’s personal life has been relatively private compared to the extensive public recognition of his father. He has maintained a connection to France and Spain, reflecting his dual heritage.
His legacy lies in his role as a curator, advocate, and guardian of his father’s artistic heritage. By curating exhibitions, managing the estate, and raising awareness about his father’s work, he has played a crucial part in preserving and sharing the legacy of one of the most influential artists in history.
The art dealer Larry Gagosian said, “He was a dedicated guardian and interpreter of his father’s legacy, leading the Picasso Administration since its founding and enthusiastically supporting international scholarship and exhibitions. He was an extraordinary man and a great friend. Our hearts go out to all of Claude’s family. He will be profoundly missed.”