Birth name Marie-Clémentine Valadon
Born 23 September 1865, Bessines (HauteVienne), France
Died 7 April 1938, Paris, France
She went to Paris as a young girl and worked as a seamstress, acrobat and artist's model in Montmartre, posing for Renoir, Puvis de Chavannes and Lautrec. Within a short while she began to sketch, encouraged by Lautrec and especially by Degas who bought several of her paintings. At eighteen she gave birth to a son, Maurice Utrillo. She exhibited with the Impressionists
and at Vollard's. In her early work (1883-1889) she expresses the skinny nakedness of little undernourished girls, the ravaged faces of old women, the plain souls of the poor (Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1912), employing robust, unpitying, virile strokes from which all feminity is absent. In 1896 she married Paul Moussis for the sake of material security, and in 1909 married the painter Andre Utter. Although she painted some fine landscapes (The Village of Saint-Bernard, 1921) and still-life studies (The Violin, 1921), she preferred painting people nudes and faces-always singling out in them some element of the bizarre (TheSeamstress, 1914; The Abandoned Doll, 1921). Her colours are rich and muted,and her settings painstakingly thought out (Men casting their Nets, 1914).
Post-Impressionism, Michel-Claude Jalard, Edito Service SA, Geneva