Just two months after his mother, the French painter and writer Françoise Gilot, died at the age of 101 in Manhattan on June 6, Claude Ruiz Picasso, the third son of Pablo Picasso, died this Thursday in Switzerland, as confirmed his lawyer, Jean-Jacques Neuer, without specifying the cause. Ferri, administrator of the painter's rights for decades through the Succession Picasso, had handed over the reins of the organization in July to his sister Paloma, two years younger than him, also the daughter of Gilot and Picasso and the only one of the four children of genius that lives on.
Claude Ruiz Picasso was the third child of the genius after Paulo Picasso (1921-1975), born from his marriage with Olga Jojlova, and after Maya Widmaier-Picasso (1935-2022), his first daughter, born from his relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter. Claude was born in 1947 in Boulogne-Billancourt and during his life worked as a photographer, entrepreneur and filmmaker.
His parents separated in 1953, when he was just six years old, and eleven years later Françoise Gilot would publish the famous book Life with Picasso, a memoir of their decade together in which she describes him as a domineering, sexist and cruel man , a fact that would end up alienating Claude and his father until the moment of his death.
A Claude who would study film at the Actors Studio in New York and shoot a documentary about the singer Barbara. He also moved around the world of photography, where he was an assistant to Richard Avedon, who would make a famous portrait of him with his sister Paloma and another of Claude with a white dove on his shoulder. He would live in New York between 1967 and 1974 and work as a photojournalist, in advertising films and in theatrical productions, before returning after his father's death to France to manage the gigantic legacy, joining the team of master Maurice Rheims to inventory a work that included more than 40,000 creations. At that time he would help the organization of the donation of works that, as payment of taxes, would end up constituting the Picasso Museum in Paris.
Undoubtedly the most important task of Claude Ruiz Picasso, who is survived by his wife Sylvie Vautier and his children Jasmin and Solal, has been the administration of his father's inheritance through the Succession Picasso, which belonged undivided to Claude and Paloma Picasso, and to the artist's grandchildren: Marina Picasso, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso and Olivier, Diana and Richard Widmaier-Picasso. And that he deals with the rights related to the work and the image of the artist, a task he has been in charge of by court order since 1989 and until just a month ago he has a monopoly on copyright and reproduction of the artist's works, also moral and trademark rights, and delivery of certificates of authenticity and is in charge of the fight against fake paintings. "I had never imagined or desired such an important role or power over my father's inheritance," confided Claude to Picasso's biographer, John Richardson. But he had it. And he exercised it.
A Succession in which Claude in 2008, after a call from the Saint-Ouen cemetery warning that they were about to send to the mass grave the remains of a grave that no one had paid for for a long time, that of Carles Casagemas -a great friend of the painter and who committed suicide at the age of twenty in Paris-, decided to take charge of the tomb.