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Surviving Picasso Summary


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This is the story of a famous painter and of a young girl, Francoise, an aspiring painter. Their affair, which lasts 10 years, begins in 1943 during the German occupation of Paris. The painter is Picasso; he is in his 60s, and as wild and passionate as a youth. His path is littered with former mistresses and, while swearing eternal love to Francoise, he pays regular visits to the sensual, phlegmatic Marie-Therese, the brilliant Dora, also a painter, whose feelings for him have brought her to a nervous breakdown, and his Russian wife, Olga, a former dancer, whom he has driven to the point of actual madness. Francoise has to accept all these women and their offspring as part of her relationship with Picasso. Moreover, she has to accept his unpredictable moods, his outrageous sense of humor, his stinginess, his childish tyrannies, and his delight in making others submit to his whims. But when Picasso begins yet another new affair, Francoise realizes that, to save herself, she must leave him.