Marina Picasso is the daughter of Pablo Picasso's eldest son. In this extraordinary, heart-breaking memoir she speaks for the first time of the devastating effect Picasso's fame and personality had on her and her family.
Marina Picasso remembers being six years old and standing awkwardly in front of the gates of Picasso's grand house near Cannes. She was there with her father and eight-year-old brother to collect from her grandfather the weekly allowance that Picasso grudgingly gave his eldest son to support his family. Sometimes they were sent away and on other occasions, the gates would be opened and they would walk into the intimidating, exciting chaos of Picasso's studio to face the man himself and his unpredictable moods. Looking back, Marina can understand why Picasso had so little interest in his grandchildren, but at the time, she and her brother longed for him to love and understand them. Just a few miles down the Cote d Azur, they led a hand to mouth existence. Her father was a weak man, reliant on his father for everything and her mother lived in her own fantasy world; the family were therefore utterly dependent on Picasso. People assumed they were rich and privileged because they were Picassos and they were to live their lives under the burden of these assumptions. It was this that caused Marina's brother to commit suicide and when her father died Marina found herself in the ironic position of being one of the major heirs to Picasso's estate.