Roque, Jacqueline (d. 1986)

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Roque, Jacqueline (d. 1986)

Second wife of Pablo Picasso. Name variations: Jacqueline Hutin; Jacqueline Picasso; Madame Z. Died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 19, 1986; married an engineer or civil servant by the name of Hutin (divorced); married Pablo Picasso (1881–1973, the artist), on March 2, 1961; children: (first marriage) one daughter Catherine Hutin. Picasso's first wife was Olga Khoklova .

Jacqueline Roque became the second wife of artist Pablo Picasso in 1961, when he was 80 and she was 35. By all accounts, she was obsessively devoted to Picasso, although some of his biographers question her motives. "Picasso became the tool through which she could assert her will over the rest of the world," wrote Arianna Huffington , "the means through which she could experience a sense of power that, even if her imagination had not been as limited as it was, she would never have imagined possible."

Roque knew Picasso as early as 1953, while he was in the process of ending his eight-year affair with Françoise Gilot . At the time, she had recently divorced her first husband (a man by the name of Hutin) and was living near Vallarius with her six-year-old daughter Catherine Hutin . Roque was employed as a sales clerk at Madura's pottery in Vallarius, where Picasso had a studio and where she apparently posed for several paintings: Portrait de Jacqueline aux mains croisèes, which portrays her seated on the ground with her hands clasped around her drawn-up knees, and Portrait of Madame Z. Picasso called Roque Madame Z, after her house "Le Ziquet" (the little goat). In both portraits, painted in June 1954, Roque's adoration of the artist is quite apparent, although Picasso was then reluctant to enter into a deep commitment. "I could not possibly go to bed with a woman who had had a child by another man," he told a friend. Roque remained just another of Picasso's numerous female diversions for some time and was treated badly by the artist. Even after they became lovers, he frequently ordered her away, taking her back begrudgingly when she threatened to harm herself. Eventually, Roque's devotion simply wore him down, says Patrick O'Brian in his biography Picasso (1976). "[L]assitude, consciousness of age, and a longing for peace in which to work induced Picasso to give in. There may well be other factors of which one knows nothing, but that was the only explanation those who knew him well at the time could give. To them it seemed that he just gave up the struggle."

In 1955, Roque and her daughter moved with Picasso into a large villa in the district of La Californie, outside Cannes. It was there, according to Huffington, that "he and Jacqueline settled into a life of being devoured in the process of devouring each other—she by her smothering possessiveness and he by crushing first her spirit and then her humanity." Roque became Picasso's nursemaid, secretary, and housekeeper, and, symbolic of his dependence upon her, he began to call her "Maman." "And of all the women in his life, Jacqueline looked most like his mother," explains Huffington, "and came to look more and more like her as she grew stockier and sturdier with every year." Even while recovering from stomach surgery in 1957, Roque rose from her sickbed in order to tend to Picasso's needs. As a result, she suffered from a debilitating fatigue from which she never recovered and which frequently caused her to hobble around like an old woman.

In March 1961, the couple secretly married with only necessary witnesses in attendance. From that time on, they divided their time between two residences: Château de Vauvenargues, in a lonely valley under the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a house that Roque found sinister and lonely, and Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, in Mougins, near Cannes. "Marriage transformed Jacqueline from victim to victor," writes Huffington, "and crossing the line from mistress to wife unleashed the destructiveness that had been nursed in her through six years of being treated as something subhuman." In the years that followed, Roque sought to deepen her own relationship with Picasso by destroying his emotional bonds with others, namely his children with other women. From the time of her marriage, she attempted to separate the artist from his past life, and even went so far as to refer to Picasso's paintings of the period as "their children."

In 1965, Picasso was devastated by the publication of Françoise Gilot's book Life with Picasso, in which she recounted her private life, sparing few details of her turbulent relationship with Picasso. A short time later, the artist was hospitalized for prostate surgery, which took a further toll on his spirit. By 1969, however, he was recovered and enjoying another productive period. It was as though he thought he could ward off death by working, a belief that Roque shared. "They were co-conspirators in a tragic game of hide-and-seek," says Huffington, "tacitly determined to smother death with busy business: he busy with work, she busy with him."

Picasso cheated death until April 8, 1973, after which there was a long drawn-out battle to settle his estate. In the end, Roque inherited the largest portion, almost three-tenths of the total, including the two houses. She survived Picasso by 13 years, during which she arranged for a number of exhibits of his work from her large collection. On the night of October 15, 1986, after making final arrangements for an exhibition at the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid to open on October 25, Picasso's 105th birthday, Jacqueline Roque committed suicide, shooting herself in the temple. She was buried next to her husband in the park of the Château de Vauvenargues.


Daix, Pierre. Picasso: Life and Art. Translated by Olivia Emmet. NY: HarperCollins, 1993.

Huffington, Arianna Stassinopoulos. Picasso: Creator and Destroyer. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

O'Brian, Patrick. Picasso. NY: Putnam, 1976.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts