8. Picasso Kidnapped a Woman
In a rather chilling tale, Picasso enlisted his friends in the summer of 1916 to help him kidnap a woman with whom he’d madly fallen in love. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire helped Picasso abduct Irene Lagut, born Marie-Reine Onésime Lagut, and whisk her away to the outskirts of Paris where he attempted to hold her captive. She managed to escape, but willingly returned to Picasso about a week later.
Lagut and Picasso had a rocky on-and-off-again relationship, presumably due at least in part to the kidnapping and captivity, but they ultimately decided to marry at the end of 1916. However, Lagut changed her mind at the last minute and fled to Paris to reconcile with a former lover, an unnamed woman. A 1990s biographer, John Richardson, attempted to use the evidence of Lagut returning to her former lover as evidence that Lagut was “basically a lesbian” in his biography of Picasso which tried to clear his name of the various charges of misogyny and infidelity leveled against it.
Picasso and Lagut did reconcile at least once in the 1920s, which led to the creation of one of Picasso’s more famous works The Lovers. The painting features a man and woman standing together, and letters unearthed later in the 20th century indicated the picture was based on Lagut and Picasso.