Tuesday, June 12, 2012

ABC Wednesday
June 13th, 2012

The letter this week is the Valiant V

In this post V stands for Suzanne Valadon, who was born Marie-Clementine Valadon to an unmarried laundress, Madeleine Valadron.  Her father was probably a young man who worked at a nearby mill in Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France, and he was killed shortly after Marie-Clementine's birth.

Madeleine moved with her baby to Montmartre where she worked as a charwoman, and Marie-Clementine grew up very much on her own.  In her early teens she joined an acrobatic group but following a serious accident that nearly killed her she left the group and at 15 she went to the Place Pigalle in order to become an artist's model.

She was a beautiful young girl with 'cognac coloured' hair and stunning blue eyes, and she soon came to the attention of many of the artists of the day, including Purvis de Chavannes and Auguste Renoir.  It seemed the relationship between model and artist was a condition of life in Montmartre at that time, and Madeleine, at 17, became pregnant.

As a model for Renoir

Soon after the birth of her baby (Maurice) Valadon began to model for Toulouse-Lautrec who saw her drawings and encouraged her to change her name to Suzanne, a name that could be respected and remembered.  Lautrec advised her to take her drawings to Degas, who immediately recognized her talent, bought 17 of these drawings and hung them among his Cezannes, Gauguins and Van Goghs.

Suzanne Valadon - self portrait

Suzanne Valadon had a complicated life.  Her son, Maurice Utrillo (of whom I wrote last week) caused her much sorrow and anxiety.  She was perhaps not the best of mothers, but she was a truly gifted artist who formed a style all her own.

She is only now beginning to gain the respect she deserves as one of the great painters of the twentieth century and her work is exhibited in many of the finest museums and galleries throughout the world.

Information gleaned from 'The Art World Online".

For more interesting Vs click here and visit ABC Wednesday with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her valiant volunteers.


Carver said...

Fascinating life and a great post for V day. Carver ABC-Wed. Team

Roger Owen Green said...

interesting life, albeit a tad sad

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

photowannabe said...

Very interesting information and history.
I always like learning about the lives of artists and the reasons they do things the way they do.

Life with Kaishon said...

Cognac colored hair. How absolutely lovely.

ChrisJ said...

As I was reading this I thought I detected something I had recently read then you mentioned Maurice Utrillo. I went back and looked him up on Google last week. I like his paintings. have to go back and look at hers.

Luna Miranda said...

the first painting reminds me the Barbara Cartland paperback covers that I read in high school.:p
an interesting life.

V is for...

Wanda said...

Love learning something new about an artist. She was beautiful.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this post about a painter who was till now unknown to me! The paintings you showed look like those Vincent van Gogh made. She certainly had talent. I like the. painting of the cat very much.
I wish you a wonderful Wednesday!
Wil, ABC Team.

Meryl Jaffe, PhD said...

Fascinating post, beautiful art. Thanks!

chubskulit said...


Eye View
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

Black Jack's Carol said...

I really enjoyed learning about Suzanne Valadon. You inspired me to seek a bit more information. Her affair with composer, Eric Satie, is something I hope to explore a bit more, and I'll be watching out for opportunities to see her paintings. Perhaps I'll try to get a hold of the novel based on her life that was published in 2001. Thank you. Great post.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Love your beautifully illustrated art-history lessons. She had to have amazing talent and drive under those circumstances.