Jacqueline Picasso, the widow of Pablo Picasso, committed suicide Wednesday at the chateau on the French Riviera where the giant of modern art died in 1973, police said.
Picasso, 60, was found dead in her bed at 9 a.m. by her maid. An automatic pistol was at her side. Police said the single gunshot wound to the head appeared to have been self-inflicted.
The death occurred at Notre Dame de Vie, French for Our Lady of Life, a medieval mountaintop castle at Mougins, a village overlooking Cannes. She and Picasso lived there until his death in April 8, 1973, at age 92. The castle is virtually a museum filled with some of Picasso’s greatest works.
Jacqueline Picasso was the painter’s second wife, and though their relationship was often stormy, with separations and reconciliations, she remained loyal to him until the end.
Friends said Jacqueline never was able to get over her grief after the death of the Spanish-born Picasso, who in 60 years created about 10,000 paintings and other artworks.
She first came to know the painter as his model in 1953 when she was a 28-year-old divorcee and Picasso was 72. His first wife, Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, died in 1955, and he married Jacqueline Roque in 1961.
A doctor said “the state of her health was very serious,” police reported. The nature of her illness was not disclosed.
Her depression was said to have increased in recent months, and she reportedly confided to a close friend recently that she intended to commit suicide because “I would prefer to die than to continue like this.”
‘He Lives Always’
Jacqueline Picasso once told a photographer: “I am not the widow of Picasso. He lives always.”
She spent her last years organizing exhibitions of his work for worldwide tours. A Picasso retrospective she was planning is scheduled to open in Madrid on Oct. 25.
Her body will be buried alongside her husband at the Chateau de Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence in southern France.