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Suzanne Valadon had a very colorful life. Born in 1865, she started out as a circus acrobat but a fall from a trapeze ended that career early. Soon she became a model for many of the most famous artists of the time including Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec gave her painting lessons and Degas encouraged her artistic career and purchased her work.
Valadon was a free spirit and lived her life on her own terms. She kept a goat in her studio to eat up all the art work she didn't consider fit to show. When she was 18 and unmarried, she had a child, Maurice Valadon. Her son later took the name of a family friend and became the well-known artist, Maurice Utillo.
Suzanne, as a model, was the subject in many famous paintings by the artist Renior with whom she had an affair and also in Lautrec's paintings. She was a well-known artist at the time of her death in 1938.