Olga Khokhlova

Olga Khokhlova

Olga Khokhlova, spring 1918, Montrouge studio, photograph attributed to Pablo Picasso or Émile Deletang
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

Olga Picasso, Olga Stepanovna Khokhlova (Russian: О́льга Степа́новна Хо́хлова, June 17, 1891 – February 11, 1955) was a Russian ballet dancer, but better known as the first wife of Pablo Picasso and the mother of his son, Paulo.


Olga Khokhlova was born in Nizhyn, Russian Empire.

Olga wanted to be a ballerina from the time she visited France and saw Madame Shroessont perform. She became a member of the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

On May 18, 1917, Olga 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, Olga 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 Olga as a Spanish girl (Olga Khokhlova in Mantilla). Later Olga returned with Picasso to Paris, where they began to live together on the Rue La Boétie.

Marriage to Picasso

Olga married Picasso on July 12, 1918 at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at the Rue Daru. Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob were witnesses to the marriage.

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

On February 4, 1921, Olga gave birth to a boy named Paulo (Paul). From then on, Olga and Picasso's relationship deteriorated. In 1927, Picasso began an affair with a seventeen-year-old French girl, Marie-Thérèse Walter. In 1935, Olga learned of the affair from a friend, who also informed her that Walter was pregnant. Immediately, Olga took Paulo, moved to the [[