Picasso was pursuing his exploration of still lifes, which now included a little owl-familiar on a chair and a crane. 1 But an accident interrupted him: Françoise broke her arm during an electricity cut. (France was still very short of energy during that first winter of peace.) Picasso organized her convalescence in a house owned by Louis Fort, on the harbor of Golfe-Juan: the house Fort had already offered him for the summer of 1945. The young woman set off by herself in mid-March 1946 and began working on engraving. Picasso lost no time in joining her. He felt increasingly determined to make her part of his life. He introduced her to Matisse, who lived in the Hôtel Régina, above Nice, and Matisse, with Lydia, received Picasso and Françoise as a couple. Matisse went so far as to imagine doing a portrait of Françoise. Françoise recorded Pablo's reaction : "Pablo, at that point, had done only two small portraits of me; but as we were going to the car, he became very possessive: 'Really! That's too much! Do I go around painting portraits of Lydia?' "
This instance of the possessive feelings he already had toward Françoise as his model suggests how explosive those feelings must have been when he learned that after his dazzled paintings of Fernande at Gosol, she had posed nude for Van Dongen.
On their return to Paris in late April, Picasso virtually besieged Françoise. He wanted her to move into Grands-Augustins for good.
For him this was a new kind of necessity. He and Marie-Thérèse had actually lived together only for a month at Juan-les-Pins in 1936 and then weekends; Dora was with him for summer vacations at Royan and otherwise waited in the rue de Savoie for his signal. In fact, since things had begun to go badly with Olga, shortly after Paulo's birth, Picasso had lived alone. And, as part of his campaign to persuade Françoise, he insisted on this point, on his need for solitude. He had, of course, been through far more difficult times. Kahnweiler was back in business, was buying his paintings, and was preparing to undertake his lithographic operations. And Louis Carré—increasingly recognized as the most important dealer in postwar Paris—was showing Picasso's work. As an artist he enjoyed a prestige