Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) was a French painter and artists' model who was born Marie-Clémentine Valadon. She was an acclaimed painter of her time, well respected and championed by contemporaries such as Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. She lived a bohemian life with rebellious vision. She became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and was also the mother of the painter Maurice Utrillo.
Valadon began painting full-time in 1896 and painted still lifes, portraits, flowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colours. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes that depict women's bodies from a woman's perspective. Her work attracted attention partly because, as a woman painting unidealized nudes, she upset the social norms of the time.
Valadon was not confined to a specific style, yet both Symbolist and Post-Impressionist aesthetics are clearly seen within her work. She worked primarily with oil paint, oil pencils, pastels, and red chalk; she did not use ink or watercolour because these mediums were too fluid for her preference. Valadon's paintings feature rich colours and bold, open brushwork often featuring firm black lines to define and outline her figures.
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