Friday Art Cat: Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)



Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

According to legend, the French painter Suzanne Valadon fed caviar to her pets on Fridays, honouring the Catholic meat-free day!  Whatever the truth, the painting “Bouquet and a Cat” depicts a trully adored pet, enthroned on a chair with an entirely human assurance.

Bouquet and a Cat, oil, 1919

Valadon was a French painter and artists’ model who was born Marie-Clémentine Valadon at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France.  In 1894, she became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Valadon was not confined to a specific style, yet both Symbolist and Post-Impressionist aesthetics are clearly seen within her work.  She began her career as an artist’s model in Montmartre, posing for such illustrious figures as Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (all of whom were her lovers), as well as Steinlen and Renoir.

Her observation of their techniques helped her when she gave up modelling in the 1890s to pursue painting.

Her vigorous style, with its bold contours and flat areas of colour, has something in common with Toulouse-Lautrec, who was the first champion of her art, but her vision was entirely her own.  Her art career success was eclipsed during her lifetime by her illegitimate son, Maurice Utrillo.

It is commonly believed that Valadon had taught herself how to draw at the age of nine.  Valadon painted still lifesportraitsflowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors.  She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes that depict women’s bodies from a woman’s perspective.  This is particularly important because it was unusual in the nineteenth century for a woman artist to make female nudes her primary subject matter.

Valadon produced around 300 drawings and over 450 oil paintings by the time she died from a stroke at age 72.  She is buried in the Cimetière de Saint-Ouen in Paris. Among those in attendance at her funeral were her friends and colleagues André DerainPablo Picasso, and Georges Braque.

Both an asteroid (6937 Valadon) and a crater on Venus are named in her honour.  The small square at the base of the Montmartre funicular in Paris is named Place Suzanne Valadon. At the top of the funicular, and less than 50 meters to its east, are the steps named rue Maurice Utrillo after her son the artist.

I hope you like her work as much as I do.

Study of a Cat, oil, 1918




Lily Walton and Raminou


Two Cats, 1918

Inspired by Veladon

This is a quick sketch of my Bengal, Pandora in a similar setting to Raminou on the cushion above.  I’ve used the oil paint simulation within the Ipad app called Procreate, which I am experimenting with at the moment.


The Cat – 3500 years of the Cat in Art by Caroline Bugler;


Sara Day

I am an artist who makes work of animals and people.

Three cats live with me – Maine coon Orlando, Bengal Pandora and black moggy Rio.

Commissions welcomed.

Instagram: Sardine.Art

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