Jacqueline 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.

Jacqueline 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 suicide.

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 in Italy.

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.


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