Life after Picasso
64 years ago, on February 11, 1955, Olga Khokhlova passed away. The general public probably knows only about the ballerina from Nizhyn that she emigrated from the Russian Empire and became the wife of Pablo Picasso. Officially, she remained in this status until the end of her days, although in fact for many years she had to spend all alone, away from her husband and son, resigned to their contempt, which almost deprived her mind …
Abroad, she was called the “Russian wife of Picasso,” but in fact Olga Khokhlova was born on the territory of modern Ukraine, which was then part of the Russian Empire in the city of Nizhyn. Her father, Stepan Khokhlov, was a colonel in the tsarist army. Olga spent her childhood in Nizhyn, and then her father was transferred to St. Petersburg. There, Khokhlova began to practice ballet in a private school. Despite the fact that this happened quite late for the dancer – at the age of 14 – her zeal and perseverance soon brought her to the troupe of Sergey Diaghilev. The main parties, the creator of “Russian Seasons” did not trust her, but included in the first corps de ballet.
Since 1911, Olga Khokhlova, along with the troupe, has toured in Europe and the United States. Then she still did not assume that she would remain living abroad. In 1915, she visited her relatives for the last time in Russia, and then again went on a foreign tour. Contemporaries left very controversial reviews about her creative abilities: some called her a mediocre dancer who fell into Diaghilev’s troupe only because of her noble birth, others argued that a perfectionist leader would never have suffered on the stage of mediocre artists, and what certainly would not have occupied Khokhlova – this is hard work and good technology.
Their acquaintance with Pablo Picasso took place in Rome in 1917, where both worked on the production of the Diaghilev ballet “Parade” – Picasso participated in the creation of the scenery. The artist was 35 years old at that time, the dancer was 25. Many of his friends were surprised at why he became interested in this particular ballerina, who was called colorless and ordinary. And Picasso, when he first saw Khokhlova, exclaimed: “Look amazing!” However, the dancer did not share his ardor at first – she was chaste and was in no hurry to respond to his courtship. Sergei Diaghilev warned the artist: “Caution, you must marry Russian girls!”
From Rome they went on tour to Spain, where Picasso introduced his mother’s chosen one, and her reaction was unexpected. She told Olga: “Poor girl, you have no idea what you are condemning yourself to. If I were your girlfriend, I would advise you not to marry him under any pretext. I don’t think that with my son, who is only concerned with himself, at least one woman will be happy. ” Unfortunately, she was right, only Olga understood this after years.
Meanwhile, a revolution took place in Russia, and Olga was cut off from her family – she could not return to her homeland, and her relationship with her relatives was lost for many years. Later, she found out that her father and three brothers were killed, and her mother and sister moved to Georgia. Pablo Picasso was her only support and support abroad. In 1918, Olga Khokhlova became the wife of Picasso. At the insistence of her husband, since then she no longer went on stage. In 1921, the couple had a son, Paul (Paulo).
Very soon, the artist realized that they were completely different people. Olga was passionate about the whirlwind of social life, balls and receptions, and he quickly got bored. Picasso admitted to one of his acquaintances: “You see, Olga loves tea, caviar and cakes. And I – sausages and beans. ” In fact, their marriage lasted only 10 years, although officially they remained husband and wife until the end of Khokhlova’s days. In 1927, the artist met the 17-year-old Marie-Theres Walter, who became his mistress, and a few years later gave birth to a child.