France • 1865−1938

Biography and information

What a feminine, soft, it seems, all of the roundness and bends consisting beauty dances at Renoir dance in Bougival! Posing for him Suzanne Valadon (fr. Suzanne valadonSeptember 23, 1865 - April 7, 1938) differed in a very different disposition than you might think, admiring it on Renoir's canvases. The first female artist, adopted by the National Society of Fine Arts. The woman who Edgar Degas, not unreasonably often blamed for misogyny, recognized as equal. Posing for Renoir and Lautrec, Puy de Chavannes and Zandomeneghi (see a selection of pictures with the Susan-model). The woman who gave birth to the artist Maurice Utrillo - perhaps from any of the above-named painters, by the way.

Marie-Clementine Valad - the real name of Suzanne Valadon. She did not know her father. Mother earned a living by cleaning the apartments, sewing, washing clothes. In Paris, the girl was at the age of five years. She studied in a free religious school, and at the age of eleven she entered a sewing workshop. Who she just did not have to work! The nurse, the saleswoman, the waitress and even the circus performer. The latter was already an activity for the soul, the girl entered the amateur circus, became an acrobat, but after a few months there was an accident: Marie-Clementine fell off the trapeze. She received no serious damage, but she had to say goodbye to the circus. By the time her mother opened her own laundry. To distribute the washed clothes the clients liked the girl much less than to perform in a circus. However, she entered the painting practically with a basket of linen at the ready. Pierre Puy de Chavannes spotted a textured girl who brought him clean linen. AT "The Sacred Grove" we can see the image of Marie repeated many times in different poses.

She wrote eminent artists. With a light hand Toulouse-Lautrec she changed her name to Suzanne. Beloved (in all senses) by many eminent and not so famous artists, Suzanne diligently hid from them the fact that she herself was not averse to "indulge in" canvas and paints. Toulouse-Lautrec was the first to know her secret. Their relationship was quite long. He introduced Valadon to Edgar Degas. He looked at her drawings for a long time, sorted it out, threw it on the table, was silent. What was Suzanne going through at this moment? We can only guess. Finally, leaning back in his chair, he said two words: “You are ours”.

Suzanne Valadon, frankly, did not differ in puritanical views. But she claimed that it was with Degas that she had nothing but a teacher-student relationship. According to her, maitre "Too afraid of women", and she herself would not mind expanding the scope of their communication, but ... “No one ever praised my skin, hair and muscles. Never did a man give me so many compliments. His admiration was purely spiritual. He praised me as if it were a good horse or dancer. ”. In the bedroom of Degas hung Susanna Valadon's pastel, which he bought from the artist. Did he depict Susanna? Yes, but identifying it is not so easy. Maybe she here? Or here?

Degas's favorite trick is “peeping through the keyhole” Suzanna Valadon took over, drawing her naked ones. "My women busy with normal care behind your body. Here's one: she washes her feet. It's as if it was peeped through the keyhole, ”explained Degas. Heroine her nude are also often busy with their own business, and do not pose.

Susanna herself probably did not know who became the father of her child. The "author" of this work could be any of those for whom Mademoiselle Valadon posed. One of her many fan friends adopted the boy, hence the surname Utrillo. Maurice Utrillo's mother gave neither love, nor motherly affection, nor support, nor care, but gave a brush and paints. All his life Utrillo had a morbid affection for his mother, was terribly jealous of her many boyfriends and drank godlessly. And Suzanne Valadon kept a goat in the workshop, which she fed unsuccessful paintings, she could decorate herself with a bunch of carrots and left a successful lawyer for a friend of her son, Andre Utter.

Utter was three years younger than Maurice. Susana wrote Adam to him for a picture. "Adam and Eve". The artist chose herself for the role of Eva. Her personal Adam Utter was almost 30 years. In Montmartre, their - Suzanne Valadon, her son and her Andre called the "damned trinity".

In the life of Suzanne, men swiftly replaced each other. Obviously they were not her main interest. But painting Valadon was much more serious. She could work on one picture for more than ten years, bringing it to perfection. A great help for Suzanne Valadon was the support of gallery owner Bertha Weil, who regularly held exhibitions of the artist and represented her works at all expositions at which it was possible.

How different Suzanne looks at us from the paintings of Lautrec and Renoir! Images of Renoir are widely known and loved (1, 2), and Lautrec, perhaps, much more accurately grasped the essence of Marie-Clementine Valad herself, renamed by him to Suzanne (1, 2).

She had an extremely tough and purposeful disposition, which allowed her to get to recognition at a time when there were enough talented men around who created almost every month a new direction in painting. Suzanne went to her goal, not stopping at nothing. She clearly knew what she wanted and did not even think about cramming into the framework of gender stereotypes: “I write people to know them. Do not bring women to me who expect me to portray them charming or embellished, I will immediately disappoint them. ”.

Author: Alain Esaulova