There are countless women muses behind the inspiration and creativity of the most famous artists. Each week of March, Broad Gallery will be introducing some of those muses behind the works of our 20th century Masters.
JACQUELINE ROQUE – THE WOMAN IN TURKISH GARB
Woman in turkish garb is a lithograph after a drawing by Pablo Picasso from 1955. The muse who inspired Picasso for this beautiful work was Jacqueline Roque.
Of all the women in Picasso’s life, the most enigmatic is Jacqueline, the wife of a French colonial official whom he met in 1952 and whom he married (after her divorce and the death of his first wife Olga) in 1961. Just as Fernande is associated with the cubist period, Olga the neo-classical 1920s, Marie -Therese the surrealist 30s, Dora the early 40s and Francoise the post-war years, Jacqueline became the muse of Picasso’s old age.
They were together for the last 20 years of his life, and for 17 of those years she was the only woman he painted. Although there are more pictures of Jacqueline than any other single person in Picasso’s work, relatively little has been written about her or the nature of her relationship with the artist.
The first idea coming to mind when thinking of Jacqueline is how beautiful she was – or, at least, how beautiful Picasso makes her appear; According to John Richardson’s memoir of Jacqueline published in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, she was small and dark, but in a monumental charcoal drawing of 1954, she is shown in profile, a classic Mediterranean beauty with a long neck and upright bearing. Soft chiaroscuro lends her a serenity and luminosity that serve to symbolise his great love for her.
Her exotic looks and habit of sitting cross-legged with her legs drawn up to her chest and the interest of the artist in Delacroix’s paintings inspired Picasso to see her as an odalisque.