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Picking up the Picasso sculpture


We donated the Picasso
Carl Djerassi Scientist
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My wife took one look at... you know, not that she said it angrily, but there was an element of sharpness in there, which took me completely aback, and I felt that even if she had it, that would have been the time to hide it, because I thought it was a very charming gesture. And the interesting part is that when we got divorced 15 years later, and there was this very terrible divorce, and I mean, controversial and everything else, and we had to divide everything in half, and then came this... in this division there was this little... it was negligible compared to all the other things that were at stake, as I'll mention - the entire Paul Klee collection... She said, 'Well, this is mine'. I said, 'You forgot what you said that time. You felt I bought it for myself. This is community property. I have half of it'. So of course, then neither one of us ended up with it, and we donated it to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which was probably just as well, but I do remember that Picasso digression.

Austrian-American Carl Djerassi (1923-2015) was best known for his work on the synthesis of the steroid cortisone and then of a progesterone derivative that was the basis of the first contraceptive pill. He wrote a number of books, plays and poems, in the process inventing a new genre, 'science-in-fiction', illustrated by the novel 'Cantor's Dilemma' which explores ethics in science.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Norma Lundholm Djerassi

Duration: 1 minute, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008