Suzanne Valadon

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Suzanne Valadon (September 23, 1865April 7, 1938) was a French painter.

Born Marie-Cl魥ntine Valadon at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France the daughter of an unmarried laundress, Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of 15 until a fall ended her career. In the Montmartre quarter of Paris she pursued her interest in art.

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The Blue Room. (1923). Suzanne Valadon.

A strikingly beautiful woman, she worked as an artists' model, and observeed and learned the artists' techniques. She modeled for artists Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and she had affairs with all of them. The most recognizable painting of Valadon would be Renoir's Dance at Bougival from 1883, the same year that she posed for City Dance. In 1885 Renoir painted her portrait again as Girl Braiding Her Hair. Valadon haunted the sleazy bars of Paris and in 1889 Toulouse-Lautrec painted her in the portrait The Hangover.

Degas impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, encouraged her efforts. Unlike many of her peers, Valadon received acclaim and some financial success during her lifetime.

Despite her achievements, she lived in the shadows of her artist son born in 1883 whose paternity she never divulged. Named Maurice Valadon at birth her son later took the family name of a close friend and as Maurice Utrillo, he became one of Montmartre's well known artists.

Suzanne Valadon painted still lifes, floral art, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes.

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The Bath. (1908). Suzanne Valadon. Pastel. 60x49 cm. Grenoble: Mus饠des Beaux Arts.

Her first exhibitions in the early 1890s consisted mainly of portraits, among them one of Erik Satie with whom she had a 6-month affair in 1893. A smitten Satie proposed marriage after their first intimate night. For Satie, the intimate relationship with Valadon would be the only relationship of the kind in his life, leaving him, he said, with "nothing but an icy loneliness that fills the head with emptiness and the heart with sadness."

In 1894 she was the first woman admitted to the Soci鴩 Nationale des Beaux-Arts. A perfectionist, Valadon worked for 13 years on her oil paintings before ever showing them.

A free spirit, she would wear a corsage of carrots, kept a goat in her studio to "eat up her bad drawings", and fed caviar to her "good Catholic" cats on Fridays.

Her marriage to stockbroker Paul Mousis in 1896 failed, when in 1909 the then 44-year old Valadon left Mousis for 23-year-old painter, Andr頕tter. She married Utter in 1914, but the marriage also did not last.

Suzanne Valadon died on April 7, 1938 and was interred in the Cimeti貥 de Saint-Ouen in Paris. Amongst those in attendance at her funeral were her artist friends Andre Derain, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque.

Today, some of her works can be seen at the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

In 1998, a book by author June Rose titled, Suzanne Valadon - Mistress of Montmartre was published and another book by Elaine Todd Koren was published in 2001 titled: Suzanne: of Love and Art.

In Limoges, France, there is a [[Secondary education|lyc饝] named Lyc饠Suzanne Valadon. This school does a biannual exchange with David W. Butler High School, in Matthews, North Carolina.

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