The profile seen in this female portrait is immediately recognizable as that of Jacqueline Roque, whom Picasso met during the the summer of 1953, while she was working in the Madoura pottery works in Vallauris, where he had been making ceramics. Following his final break with Françoise Gilot, Picasso first painted Jacqueline in June 1954, and they began to live together in September. They were married in Vallauris in March 1961, when Picasso was almost eighty years old--she was thirty-five. William Rubin has written: "Jacqueline never forced Picasso to choose; his relationship with her was not the agonizing, novelistic kind of love that the artist had experienced in certain of his earlier liaisons. Picasso did not have to win Jacqueline from another man, nor struggle to keep her. Her understated, gentle and loving personality combined with her unconditional commitment to him provided an emotionally stable life and a dependable foyer over a longer period of time than he had ever before enjoyed" (in Picasso and Portraiture, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, p. 458).
The most prominent feature in Jacqueline's large eye, as William Rubins has noted, "a kind of feminine counterpart to Picasso's own mirada fuerte" (op. cit., p. 459). Jacqueline liked to wear a kerchief or head-band to hold her hair away from her face, and Picasso enjoyed depicting her in this way, which accentuated the classically beautiful outline of her forehead, nose, and her small but finely sculpted chin. Picasso, always one to seize upon connections in which daily life resembled art, was perhaps also alluding to the fact that Delacroix depicted the Jacqueline look-a-like odalisque in both his versions of Femmes d'Alger wearing a scarf-like headdress.