Suzanne Valadon • Biography

“The Mistress of Montmartre and Mother of Maurice Utrillo”


The Art Blog reveals Suzanne Valadon.

“I’m remembering the first art print that I purchased.

Painting - Maurice Utrillo

Maurice Utrillo

Painted by Maurice Utrillo, It hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

And now I’ve discovered Suzanne Valadon

Muse, model, lover, artist — she was all that and more!

Artist Suzanne Valadon

Artist and Model…Suzanne Valadon

Suzanne Paladon painted like a man… strong, bold, and nothing shy of a Degas or a Toulouse Lautrec!

In 1894 Valadon became the first woman painter admitted to the Socite National des Beaux-Art.

She was also the mother of the painter Maurice Utrillo.

So today I’m sharing Her Story:

Suzanne Valadon  was born poor, out of wedlock, in 1865. The daughter of an unmarried laundress.

She was a rebellious child, very independent, and very resourceful. From age nine on, she supported herself by doing odd jobs including circus acrobat!

At age 16, a fall from a trapeze ended that career.

Her body was strongly built and beautiful, and looking for a safer occupation, she became an artists’ model.

Valadon, a self-taught artist observed and learned their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself.

She modeled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons), Pierre-Auguste Renoir,  Modigliani and Maurice Utrillo.

A free spirit, Valadon wore a corsage of carrots, kept a goat at her studio to “eat up her bad drawings”, and fed caviar (rather than fish) to her “good Catholic” cats on Fridays.

In the early 1890s she befriended Edgar Degas who, impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, purchased her work and encouraged her efforts. She remained one of Degas’ closest friends until his death.

Renoir Painting

Renoir’s Dance at Bougival

The most recognizable painting of  artist model Valadon would be in Renoir’s Dance at Bougival from 1883. In 1885, Renoir painted her portrait again as Girl Braiding Her Hair.

Valadon frequented the bars and taverns of Paris along with her fellow painters, and she was Toulouse-Lautrec’s subject in his oil painting The Hangover.[2]

Valadon painted still lifesportraitsflowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes.  I’m personally attracted to these still life paintings with flowers.

Valadon died on 7 April 1938, at age 72. Among those in attendance at her funeral were her friends and colleagues André DerainPablo Picasso, and Georges Braque.

The mother of Maurice Utrillo.

After being taught to paint and mentored by his mother, he became one of Montmartre’s best-known artists. And I bought an art print by Utrillo for my first apartment.

Little did I know that one day, I too would be an artist who paints, strong, bold paintings. If you haven’t seen it, here’s my latest portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

Painting - Artist Jackie Jacobson - Marilyn Monroe

“Marilyn I” ©artist Jacobson 30″ x 30″

Thanks for watching.

What one word described Valadon for you?

Mine word is COURAGEOUS.

Please leave YOUR WORD in the comment section below.

See you next time on the Art Blog.



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