Valadon, Suzanne

BORN 23 Sep 1865, Bessines, Deux-Sèvres - DIED 7 Apr 1938, Paris
BIRTH NAME Valadon, Maria Clémentine
CAUSE OF DEATH heart attack
GRAVE LOCATION St.-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis: Cimietière Parisien: Nouveau Cimetière (division 13)

Suzanne Valadon was an illegitimate child and claimed (untruthfully) to be a foundling. As a child she moved with her mother to Paris and became a washergirl. They went to live in Montmartre and there she became an acrobat in a circus. An injury ended this and then she became model and mistress for painters like Dégas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir. She also had an affair with the painter Puvis de Chavannes.

Encouraged by Degas, Valadon became a good painter herself, but she would stand in the shadows of her strange but talented son Maurice Utrillo.

Her first exhibitions in the early nineties consisted mainly of portraits, among them that of her lover Erik Satie. Their intense affair lasted from January to June 1893 and this seems to have been Satie's only love affair. In 1894 she was the first woman to be admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Her marriage to the exchange broker Paul Mousis in 1896 failed and she left him in 1909 for the young painter André Utter. He was twenty years her junior, but she married him in 1914.

Valadon turned to painting landscapes, still lifes and female nudes, that were naked in an unashamed way that was shocking at the time. When she died Georges Braque, Andre Derain and Pablo Picasso attented her funeral at the Cimetière Parisien in St.-Ouen.

Her work can be found at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

• Son: Utrillo, Maurice

Related persons
• was the lover of Degas, Edgar
• knew Dubuffet, Jean
• was the lover of Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre
• was pupil to Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre
• knew Valore, Lucie


The grave of Suzanne Valadon at the Cimetière parisien, St. Ouen, Seine-St.-Denis.
Picture by Androom (23 Aug 2001)


'The Bath'.
   (1908, Grenoble: Musée des Beaux Arts)

• Beyern, Bertrand, Guide des Cimetières en France, Le Cherche Midi Éditeur, Paris, 1994
• Cullen, Catherine, Paris, The Woman's Travel Guide, Virago Press, London, 1993
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Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022