Jacqueline Roque

Portrait of Jacqueline in a Black Scarf by Pablo Picasso, 1954. Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016 © Photo: Claude Germain

Jacqueline Roque shared Picasso’s life from 1954 until his death in 1973. They married in 1961. She devoted herself wholeheartedly to him and to his work, assuming the responsibilities of a personal assistant and striving to protect him from distractions that threatened his ability to work as intensively as he desired. Without her, his old age would surely have been far less productive.

Roque had just started living with Picasso when he painted this intimate portrait. Dressed entirely in black, she is cast as the archetypal Spanish woman Picasso remembered from his youth. The main artistic reference is to El Greco, whose portraits of men in black Picasso admired enormously.