Jacqueline Roque: Picasso’s Wife, Love & Muse


“She thought he was God and he thought he was God. The two of them were in love with him.” 

– Barbara Rose

Carol Kino writes: Think of Picasso, and it’s impossible not to envision the women he loved, tormented and painted, like Fernande Olivier, whose distorted features are indelibly associated with early cubism, or Dora600full-jacqueline-roque Maar, often depicted weeping, or Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose face and body the artist sundered so violently during his surrealist years.

“It began in 1952 when the 72-year-old artist, one of the most famous people in France, met the 27-year-old Roque at a pottery studio in Vallauris. He was making ceramics there, and she was a salesgirl.”

“For me, there are only two kinds of women—goddesses and doormats,” he told his postwar partner, Françoise Gilot, as she recounted in Life with Picasso, her 1964 memoir.


“Overall, however sexualized or aggressive Picasso’s characterization, there is also a serene, joyful quality to the work. Perhaps that’s because, as Duncan recalls today, the couple’s love for each other was abundantly evident.”

Since Picasso’s death in 1973, the works emerging from these liaisons—and the gripping tales behind them—have provided fodder for countless museum and gallery shows.

In the past three years alone, Gagosian Gallery, in conjunction with the Picasso biographer John Richardson, mounted two well-received New York exhibitions, Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’Amour Fou in 2011, and Picasso and Françoise Gilot in 2012. (On October 28, the gallery will open Picasso & the Camera, curated, like the others, by Richardson.)


“There are more portraits of Jacqueline than any other woman in Picasso’s life. The range of interpretation of her image is quite extraordinary.”

— Arne Glimcher, Pace’s founder

Now Pace Gallery, which has presented many Picasso shows of its own, will focus an extensive, two-gallery exhibitionaround the least celebrated and most controversial of the artist’s amours, Jacqueline Roque, a dark-haired divorcée 45 years the artist’s junior, who became his second wife in 1961.


“It is so free and full of love. Jacqueline created peace for him.  That did not happen before.”

— Guggenheim Museum curator and Picasso scholar Carmen Giménez

Their relationship endured for more than 20 years, until Picasso’s death at 91, making Jacqueline, who took his name when they married, his longest-lasting consort and most persistent muse. Yet she has inspired only a few exhibitions. The last was in 2006, at the Kunst Museum Pablo Picasso in Münster, Germany.

In part that’s because Picasso’s late work has often been dismissed as irrelevant and kitschy. But decades have elapsed since his death, and the work he produced while he was with Jacqueline is beginning to be hotly desired by collectors. Pace, which has organized seven shows around the late work since 1981, hopes to introduce audiences to the person who, despite all that’s said of her, was arguably the most important love of Picasso’s life. In a 1988 essay, Richardson called Picasso’s late years “L’Époque Jacqueline.”

Yet the paucity of shows about Jacqueline may also be related to the ambiguous role she played for Picasso’s family and friends. Early on, she developed a reputation for being manipulative, avaricious and conniving, initially because she came between Picasso and Gilot…(read more)


One Comment on “Jacqueline Roque: Picasso’s Wife, Love & Muse”

  1. […] The Butcher “She thought he was God and he thought he was God. The two of them were in love with him.” – […]

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