Olga Khokhlova

Olga Picasso (born Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova, , Russian: Ольга Степанoвна Хохлова; 17 June 1891 – 11 February 1955) was a Russian ballet dancer. She was also the first wife of Pablo Picasso, one of his early artistic muses and the mother of his son, Paulo.

Olga Picasso
Olga Khokhlova.jpg
Khokhlova in Afternoon of a Faun, circa 1916
Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova

(1891-06-17)17 June 1891
Died11 February 1955(1955-02-11) (aged 63)
Cannes, France
OccupationBallet dancer
(m. 1918; sep. 1935)
ChildrenPaulo Picasso
Olga Khokhlova in Picasso's Montrouge studio, spring 1918
Pablo Picasso, spring 1918, Portrait d'Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), oil on canvas, 130 x 88.8 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France

Early lifeEdit

Khokhlova was born in the town of Nizhyn, Chernigov Governorate, (Russian Empire). Her father Stepan Khokhlov was a Colonel in the Russian Imperial Army. Her mother Lydia Zinchenko was of Ukrainian descent. The Khokhlovs family had three sons and two daughters. Olga wanted to be a ballerina from the time she visited France and saw Madame Shroessont perform. She studied in Saint Petersburg at a private ballet school and in 1915 became a member of the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

On 18 May 1917, Khokhlova danced in Parade – a ballet by Sergei Diaghilev, Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau – on its opening night at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Pablo Picasso had designed the costumes and set for the ballet.


After meeting Picasso, Khokhlova left the group, which toured South America, and stayed in Barcelona with him. He introduced her to his family. At first, his mother was alarmed by the idea that her son should marry a foreigner, so he gave her a painting of Khokhlova as a Spanish girl (Olga Khokhlova in Mantilla). Later, Khokhlova returned with Picasso to Paris, where they began to live together on the Rue La Boétie.


Khokhlova married Picasso on 12 July 1918, at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at the Rue Daru in Paris. Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob were witnesses to the marriage. She was one of Picasso's first artistic muses.[1]

In July 1919, Pablo and Khokhlova went to London for the performance of Le Tricorne, for which Picasso had designed costumes and sets, according to Diaghilev's wishes. The ballet was also performed at the Alhambra, in Spain, and was a great success at the Paris Opera in 1919.

Personal lifeEdit

On 4 February 1921, Khokhlova gave birth to a boy named Paulo (Paul). From then on, Khokhlova and Picasso's relationship deteriorated. In 1927, Picasso began an affair with a 17-year-old French girl, Marie-Thérèse Walter. In 1935, Khokhlova learned of the affair from a friend, who also informed her that Walter was pregnant. Immediately, Khokhlova took Paulo, moved to the South of France, and filed for divorce. Picasso refused to divide his property evenly with her, as required by French law, so Khokhlova stayed legally married to him until her death from cancer in Cannes, France, in 1955.


Paulo, who died on 5 June 1975, was married to Emilienne Lotte. They divorced in 1953.[2] They had two children: Pablito (born 5 May 1949 – died by suicide 2 July 1973) and Marina (born 14 November 1950). Later in life, Paulo married Christiane Pauplin. The couple's only child, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso,[3] co-founded the Picasso Museum in Malaga along with his mother.

In 1990, Marina Picasso founded an orphanage in Thu Duc, Vietnam (a former military base). Named "The Village of Youth", it was funded by Marina's inheritance from her grandfather, Pablo Picasso. Marina's foundation has also organized the digging of wells in inland Vietnam, sends regular shipments of milk to orphanages and hospitals and grants farming subsidies and scholarships.


  • Richardson, John (2007). A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917–1932. Knopf. ISBN 978-0307266651.
  • Picasso, Marina; Louis Valentin (2001). Picasso, My Grandfather. Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1573221917.


  1. ^ Furness, Hannah (31 January 2016). "Picasso's muses: artist's own collection starring six women he loved on sale for the first time". Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ Blanc, Jean-Daniel. "Family tree of "Paul" Joseph RUIZ PICASSO". Geneanet. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  3. ^ Blanc, Jean-Daniel. "Family tree of Bernard RUIZ PICASSO". Geneanet. Retrieved 10 January 2019.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Olga Ruiz Picasso nee Khokhlova at Wikimedia Commons