Saturday, October 10, 2009

More on Suzanne Valadon

In reading more about Suzanne Valadon I detect an underlying problem of alcoholism.  Her son, Maurice Utrillo, was an alcoholic.  She struggled to keep him out of jail.  One of the important paintings she posed for was Toulouse-Lautrec's wonderful painting called, "The Hangover".  Of course she might have been acting but I doubt it.  I suspect Lautrec saw this in her and it inspired the painting.  After all, this is a woman who spent many of her nights in the bars.  This is how she met her many lovers/husbands as well as artists who befriended her and helped her.  In her 50's she married an artist in his 20's which was probably scandalous in those days. 
I do wonder how she managed to spend so much of her time at night drinking in the bars while she was raising a young son and supporting him as well.  These are the details that I wish to find and cannot.

At least one of her amours called her the only love of his life and found his life to be empty when she left.  He was the composer, Erik Satie.  Without a doubt she left a lasting impression on her part of the world.  She is known for her strong, female, nude paintings.  Before Valadon women were frequently painted as passive and weak but Suzanne, a physically able woman, gave the world a more healthy look at women's strength and abilities.  No wimp, this Valadon lady! 
One has to think she didn't have that much money in her life. She couldn't have had the safety net of middle class security. I think it's interesting that at one point she did marry a banker. They lived together for 14 years but suddenly, she became restless and that is when she left him for the younger artist and went back to her preferred bohemian lifestyle.
She was an illegitimate daughter of a laundress and she had a son without the benefit of marriage. Those were strict societal taboos of the time which would have placed her outside the norm, outside the acceptable.  Yet, this is a woman who is known today as a famous artist, even today. Growing up poor, making something of herself in the world of art on her own terms.
What an unlikely occurrence that this woman would have become famous and have a famous son. Yet, it happened! This was who she was and the world of art is richer for her existence.


  1. Great story! And your art is just SO beautiful!!!

  2. another wonderful post...thankyou!

    Here is the film I told you about...

    would be fun to have another women's art night and watch this.