On March 18, Skinner Auction House in Boston will be auctioning my rare museum worthy pieces of jewelry made by Pablo Picasso. These pieces–the satyr, the sun and a portrait of Claude Picasso-were given to me by Francoise Gilot, Claude’s mother, to show her appreciation for my giving a home to her son.
Claude Picasso and I met in 1971 on the dance floor of Hippopotamus at a party given by Diane Von Furstenberg. He was married and I was married. A few months later one snowy night while on my way to acting class next to Carnegie Hall, I bumped into Claude.
“It’s Mrs. Ronald Mallory,” I said. “I know, ” Claude said. “I’m going through a divorce.” “So am I,” he said. “Do you want to have dinner ?”
We made a date. Claude brought me a dozen daisies and the next day moved into my apartment. A model, I just had appeared on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Newsweek and New York Magazine.
Two years later when we were in bed, at midnight the phone rang. “Claude, it’s for you. It’s the New York Times.”
“.Merde, merde, merde. My father’s dead,” Claude said pounding the pillow. The next morning we flew to Marseilles to his sister, Maya, who lived above a boathouse,
The following evening, Claude, Paloma, Maya and Maya’s husband drove in Maya’s battered Citroen to Picasso’s medieval castle Vauvenargues outside of Aix en Provence. Under the moonlight while standing by an open grave, Claude asked me to be his wife.
When we returned to Paris, Francoise Gilot gave me one of these jewels in anticipation to this union. Claude and I were living off the money I made as a supermodel and Francoise was grateful. A terrific lawyer, Francoise had brought a lawsuit against the French government and in 1974 when she won, in celebration we covered her carriage house in Neuilly in toilet paper. Claude became the executor of the Picasso Estate and would become a billionaire. I returned to New York to settle our affairs as we now had an apartment in New York and in Paris where Claude remained. While in New York, I auditioned for the film Stepford Wives and was cast as one of the wives. Claude was not pleased. When I returned to Paris, Claude had changed. By 1975, the Karl Lagerfeld wedding dress that Francoise Gilot had bought me, was dusty.
“When are we getting married?” I asked Claude. He remained silent. I boarded the first plane in the morning for New York, took his dog, Tutu, never to return to Paris.
Four year later Claude came to Hollywood where I had moved to pursue acting. We made love like the first time we had met.
“I’ve met someone in Paris who reminds me of you only she likes Paris,” Claude said then added, “Maybe I’ll call you and we’ll get married in Vegas, Bebe.”
A few months later he married that woman.
I bottomed out as an alcoholic and with the help of Norman Mailer became a writer. My latest memoir Picasso’s Ghost details my love affair with Claude. Today I teach memoir and review movies.
Now on March 18, Skinner of Boston wants to auction my museum worthy Picasso jewels.
I wonder if the Picasso’s will bid on these rare pieces of art?