Francoise Gilot, who emerged from the shadow of her lover Pablo Picasso to become acclaimed as an artist in her own right, has died at the age of 101.

An accomplished painter, Gilot also wrote a best-selling 1964 memoir detailing her tumultuous relationship with the Spanish giant of modern art.

She described the "hell" of being Picasso's mistress and artistic muse.

France's culture minister Rima Abdul Malak called Gilot "one of the most striking artists of her generation".

Her "disappearance plunges the world of art into great sadness as her personality was bright and inspiring", Malak said.

Huffington Post founder and Picasso biographer Arianna Huffington thanked Gilot for "the insights, love and wisdom you brought into my life".

Born near Paris in 1921, to a businessman father and watercolour artist mother, Gilot set up her first studio in her grandmother's apartment.

She studied English, philosophy and law at the insistence of her father, who was reluctant to see her become an artist. But privately she kept painting.