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Picasso's Women. Jacqueline Roque

«I am Jacqueline Roque. I lived with Picasso for 18 years. He died in my arms. They called me nurse, slave, and jailer. I was his wife»

Picasso once said that you don't love Venus, but a woman. In his later years, even after painting the prodigious series 'The Painter and His Model', he claimed he'd never fallen in love. Yet, once again, he fell for a younger woman. Jacqueline Roque was then 27 years old, a significant 47 years his junior. A nearly half-century age gap. She was petite, shorter than Picasso (1.50 cm), with Picasso measuring 1.63 cm.

Always groomed, meticulous, devoted, she was certainly willing to become the painter's secretary, messenger, nurse, lover, housekeeper, and even slave and jailer. When he agreed to live with her, he announced, "You've entered the priesthood. You will call me Monseigneur.” And so, it was. Jacqueline would soap Picasso's body at bath time, watch him work late into the night even if it meant falling asleep in her chair. Like his previous women, she became his model time and again.

The Marriage and Suicide of Jacqueline Roque

They would marry later, in March 1961, six years after the death of Olga Koklova, the painter's first legal wife who never granted him a divorce, and when he turned 80. By then, they had lived together for seven years at 'La Californie', a massive house situated on a hill above Cannes. Here, Jacqueline even fervently tried to protect the painter from the heat of his friends and the curiosity of his admirers.

Jacqueline Roque committed suicide on October 15, 1986, in Mougins, at Notre Dame da Vie, the house on the French Riviera where she had spent her final years, with and without Picasso. Some biographers liken her suicide to the ritual of Hindu widows who throw themselves onto their husband's funeral pyre. However, another version seems more convincing. After overcoming the problems of the inheritance and all the suffering caused by the painter's heirs, primarily due to her behaviour at Picasso's funeral, where she prohibited their attendance.

For a while, she remained calm, but she missed having a man, and that man did exist. His name was Frederick Rosiff, the filmmaker behind 'To Die in Madrid' and the feature documentary 'Pablo Picasso, Painter', a great friend of Picasso's and similar in appearance due to his baldness. But Rosiff did not reciprocate her feelings and ended up with another woman. That was something Jacqueline could not bear.

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