As it turned out, Jackson became the most famous of all American artists. His rise was fueled by the good graces of one influential art critic and one rich old woman, who convinced him that what he was doing were paintings.
It followed that he took a mistress, said by some to resemble Elizabeth Taylor, with whom he had something in common. She drank. His wife, who resembled no one in particular, escaped his drinking and the mistress and her own humiliation and fled to Paris. On that same day the mistress moved in.
She had aspirations of becoming an artist herself and demanded of him, “Show me how you make a painting.”
He did, and presented it to her. Her reaction remains unknown.
After the artist killed himself and a young woman—not the mistress—in a car crash, his widow came back to America to settle his affairs, not the least of which was a painting in the possession of the former mistress, who desired to sell it for whatever the market would bear, which in Jackson’s case was well beyond the annual budget of Biloxi. The widow and a panel of experts agreed that it looked not entirely like the paintings the artist did when he did not know if they were paintings or splatter. This one, to the expert eye, appeared to have been done by a human being.
Of all the experts who examined it, however, only the widow was willing to go on record and call it a fraud. Upset by that judgement and in dire need of money, the mistress insisted it was a love gift in Le Grand Affaire, an intense relationship of deep and abiding emotions.
“More like five fucks,” said the widow, which suggests that though she had escaped to Europe, some line of communication with her husband remained open.