Goddard was the classic character of in the life of
artists and models. Her life was the stuff of fantasy. In her
youth, she was what today we would call an “it” girl
for she made her way by force of looks and personality. In
her womanhood she became something much more. And in her memory
she took on the mantle of ancillary cultural legend. She died
at age 91 and the following obituary appeared in the Daily
Telegraph of London.
Goddard, who has died aged 91, was a favourite model
of the Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray in
Paris during the 1930s.
As Jacqueline Barsotti, she had arrived in Montparnasse
at the age of 17, a tall beauty with unruly fair hair. She was soon
frequenting La Coupole and other haunts of the fashionable artists
of the day. Many years later, by which time she was living on the
Isle of Wight, she wrote a personal memoir in which she recalled
her experiences and offered some piquant observations about the personalities
she had come to know.
She met Giacometti, Picasso ("the greatest
genius, without any doubt, with a colossal output, but bad manners"), Derain and Matisse.
She became the favourite model of the painter Foujita,
who, when they walked together through the streets of Paris, "loved
to hear his name murmured by the passers-by."
She met writers, too. Once she danced with Somerset Maugham,
who told her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever known. Simenon,
whom she did not like, "bragged that, at the age of 30, he had
written more than Balzac". "In later life," Jacqueline
Barsotti added, "he claimed to have had thousands of mistresses,
but I never saw him with anyone else but his wife." He was to
use Jacqueline as a character in one of his novels.
Jacqueline Barsotti became a close friend of Man Ray, and of his
former mistress, Kiki. Of Man Ray she reported, "He
was not handsome, his nose had no opinion and went all over the place.
He always seemed to be meditating, and was seldom light-hearted.
It was a great pity that he did not smile a lot. That little grin
of his changed him altogether." Kiki, without makeup, "looked
like a potato".
Another of Man Ray's mistresses was the American photographer, Lee
Miller. On the night that Lee Miller left Man Ray, Jacqueline
Barsotti walked with him in the rain through Montparnasse cemetery
before they returned to his studio, where he arranged a table with
a bottle of poison, a gun and a rope. Then, as Man Ray sat at the
table, Jacqueline herself took the picture of the artist contemplating
When Man Ray presented her with a book of his photographs, he proposed
the inscription, "To the most beautiful girl I have ever photographed";
she demurred. So he suggested, "To the only one I did not sleep
with"; Jacqueline Barsotti said that this would compromise his
other models. Likewise, she rejected "To the most inspiring
one" as "a compliment for me, but rude to others".
In the end he had to settle for "With all my love, Man Ray".
She insisted that she and Man Ray were never lovers: "He was
50 when I was merely 17. I was tall, he was short. I was supposed
to be very nice to look at, he was not." After his death, Man
Ray's wife Juliette gave Jacqueline a lithograph of his self-portrait,
inscribing it, "To Jacqueline that did not".
Jacqueline Marthe Barsotti was born on November 13 1911 to a French
mother and an Italian father, who was a prolific sculptor. Her early
childhood was spent in Paris, where her father had a studio; a near
neighbour and friend of the family was Henri "Le Douanier" Rousseau.
By her own admission she was a difficult child: "I was not popular
then, I became impossible, and have remained so," she wrote
in her old age.
After the Armistice, she went with her father to live near Carrara
The illustrations in her edition of The Divine Comedy gave her nightmares.
Her mother was persuaded to join the family, but she hated Italy
and took to drink, and almost immediately after her arrival Jacqueline
was packed off to the Giuseppine College at Pisa. Here she relieved
her frustration by spitting on her playmates from the school roof.
She felt rejected by her parents, and hated her father, from whom
she stole money: "Completely honest with outsiders, I was totally
unscrupulous with my own family," she recalled.
Having shown much initial promise at school, she gave up working
and set about becoming "unmanageable"; in despair, the
nuns asked her to leave. Jacqueline now occupied herself learning
to drive a Harley Davidson motorcycle with no hands, while revolving
on the saddle. She went out for spins with racing drivers. She went
dancing. Detecting a new climate of non-conformism, she "sensed
that women with daring had a lot to say and do", and became "quite
indifferent to the opinions of other people".
When Jacqueline Barsotti was 17 the family returned to Paris, where
her father died not long afterwards. Her entrée to the artistic
world came when an Argentine sculptor asked her to pose for a head,
and it was the liberation for which Jacqueline had been waiting: "I
replaced my rather disastrous family by the most brilliant personalities
of the century." Most of the artists with whom she consorted
were in their fifties, and for the first time in her life, she said,
no one made a pass at her: "The bohemians of those days were
very much more bourgeois than any class of people I had known so
far. But they were fun." She did, however, enjoy a long, and
often volatile, relationship with the painter Mayo.
To support herself, Jacqueline Barsotti would sit for a portrait
when one of her rich friends wanted to add a famous artist to his
or her collection; she would then buy the picture, and sell it on
to her friend at a profit - but at a price below that which would
have been charged by a gallery.
She also took a course in beauty treatment at Helena Rubinstein's
school on the Faubourg St Honoré. (Having been introduced
to Miss Rubinstein, Jacqueline Barsotti concluded that "she
was striking, but not the great beauty she imagined herself to be".)
Jacqueline Barsotti passed quietly out of cultural history in 1938,
when she married a major in the Royal Artillery, Creed Creed-Miles,
whom she met on Grand Canary; he had been a leading amateur jockey,
and while up at Cambridge had owned six racehorses. The marriage
was dissolved in 1946, and she married secondly, in 1949, Ivor
Goddard, a photographer on the Isle of Wight, where she
lived until her death on July 17, never losing her French accent.
Ivor Goddard died in 1967, and she is survived by her two sons from
her first marriage.