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Self Portrait by Suzanne Valadon, 1937
Notes from
by Frances Borzello (1998)

"The increased number of women artists combined with life expectancy meant that self-portraits when old or less than lovely appeared more often [...], the proud portrait of the artist in old age as revered for her years as her talent [....] Like Rembrandt, she was fascinated by the marks left by time [....] Susanne Valadon [1865 – 1938], an artist who in her luscious youth modelled nude for Renoir turns a cool eye on her midlle-aged self."

Notes from WIKIPEDIA

"The daughter of an unmarried laundress, Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of fifteen, but a year later, a fall from a trapeze ended that career. In the Montmartre quarter of Paris, she pursued her interest in art, first working as a model for artists, observing and learning their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself. She modelled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, and is known to have had affairs with the latter two. 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.

"The most recognizable image of Valadon would be in 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. Another of his portraits of her in 1885, Suzanne Valadon, is of her head and shoulders in profile [illustrated below]. Valadon frequented the bars and taverns of Paris along with her fellow painters, and Toulouse-Lautrec painted her as the subject of The Hangover."

Suzanne Valadon by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Portrait of Suzanne Valadon (detail)
by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1885

"Valadon painted still lifes, portraits, flowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes. A perfectionist, she worked on some of her oil paintings for up to 13 years before showing them. She also worked in pastel. Her first exhibitions, held in the early 1890s, consisted mostly of portraits.

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

Suzanne Valadon, My Utrillo
"My Utrillo at the Age of Nine" by Suzanne Valadon (1892)
(compare with The Brass Kettle by Alice Barney, 1890)
Note: Suzanne Valadon is the mother of the artist Maruice Utrillo: (from Wikipedia): "Despite her financial success and the recognition gained for her artistic achievements, her fame was eclipsed by that of her son. She gave birth to the boy in 1883, when she was 18, naming him Maurice Valadon. He later adopted the paternal family name of a close friend of his mother, Miguel Utrillo y Morlius, who owned the Auberge du Clou, a tavern frequented by the residents, shop owners, workers, and artists of Montmartre. The tavern had a shadow theatre in its basement; and Miguel also created the scenery, ombres, and stage settings for the productions. After being taught to paint and mentored by his mother, as Maurice Utrillo, he became one of Montmartre's best-known artists."
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