Jacqueline Roque: Picasso’s last love and final victim

By Bea Aaronson

Of all the major women in Picasso’s life, Jacqueline Roque is the last one. Her story still remains obscure. She was his last love, more dismissed and hated than any of Picasso’s other conquests.

“Jacqueline Roque: Picasso’s Last Love and Final Victim”
Wed, Mar 27, 4:30pm
La Ostra Roja
A Casa Verde annex
San Jorge 45 (off Refugio Sur)
Please make your reservations early

A young divorcee with a little girl from a previous marriage in tow, Jacqueline Roque would become the final female act in Picasso’s love life and art. She was the last woman to fall completely under the Spaniard’s spell, to give up her own life and ambitions for him. She was the last sacrificial lamb on Picasso’s altar, and stayed by his side until the end.

By the year 1944, Françoise Gilot had “replaced” Dora Maar, and a few years later, Picasso’s new lover gave birth to their two children, Claude in 1947 and Paloma in 1949. After Paloma’s birth, the relationship between Françoise and Picasso was never quite the same again. The young mother was growing up fast and had never fallen completely under Picasso’s thumb like his previous women had done. Francoise had retained her own identity, voice, and strength during her ten years with Picasso.

In 1952, Madame Ramie of the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris was pregnant with her first child and needed some help at the studio. She hired her young divorced cousin, Jacqueline Roque, to help as a sales lady at the pottery where Picasso came to create his ceramics. The young woman was a short, classical Mediterranean dark-haired beauty who spoke a little Spanish. Every time Picasso came to the Madoura pottery, they would chat away.

In December of 1953, Gilot took the two children and left the Spanish genius to his incredible fame, fortune and advancing years. Picasso had several girlfriends afterwards but could not make up his mind which one to choose. Just about everbody in Picasso’s entourage was betting against the young divorcee with a child in tow, and many people were mean, even cruel to Jacqueline before Picasso made his decision.

By 1954, it became obvious whom Picasso had chosen for his mate, and those who had been mean to the young, divorced salesgirl at the Madoura Pottery suddenly found themselves humbly peddling back for Jacqueline’s forgiveness and good graces. But Jacqueline had not forgotten anything, and many of Picasso’s old friends found the door shut in their faces, forever banished from his court.

This once sweet, smiling, and simple girl underwent a major transformation, as she became the muse, lover and eventually the wife of Picasso. She became a horrible witch for some, a greedy money-loving leach for others, a good friend for a few, a gracious and charming host for the lucky, and a cold and evil gatekeeper for just about everybody else.

The last Madame Picasso played many roles in her husband’s late life: cooking, buying art supplies; as his social secretary she organized parties and visits, taking care of all the daily chores. She was also Picasso’s English interpreter when American collectors and celebrities would come to their house. She of course inspired him in more depictions of womanhood, docile and not so docile! In short, Picasso could not have functioned without her. But most importantly, Jacqueline followed his orders to the letter, turning people away because “the master” had said so, and it was always Jacqueline who bore the brunt, blame and hard feelings for his actions and decisions.

She would often refer to Picasso as “The Sun” as she played the role of the submissive moon that orbited religiously around him. She was extremely jealous and exclusive. Her life simply became an extension of his own, an annex for his will and purpose, a reservoir of youthful vitality for him to drain and use.

She was the moth that willingly flew to the flame, a female Icarus who wished to fly toward and fall before Picasso’s light, a devoted follower ready to be sacrificed at any given moment upon his altar of art. She was Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s final love and last victim.


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