Friday, June 18, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ Suzanne Valadon, Utrillo's Mom

Here's an interesting female artist: Suzanne Valadon. Before picking up a paint brush she was a circus acrobat, later an artists' model working with some of France's most legendary painters. After watching her employers' techniques closely she taught herself to paint, with a little help from Toulouse-Lautrec.

By all accounts she was something of a maverick with an urge to sample a variety of lovers - several painters, a composer, a banker, among others. She married some of them briefly, then wandered off again. Her son, father unknown, found fame as an artist: Maurice Utrillo

Wikipedia describes her as
A free spirit, she would wear a corsage of carrots, kept a goat at her studio to "eat up her bad drawings", and fed caviar (rather than meat) to her "good Catholic" cats on Fridays.

Her painting is described in this on-line biography

She painted portraits, landscapes, still lifes and, especially, female nudes. Her images are unforgettable in vibrant and powerful colors reminiscent of the Post-Impressionist and Fauve styles. Her use of color and her bold representations of female sexuality challenged the traditional male constructions of femininity. Valadon's powerful renditions of women's bodies probably arose from her own experience as an artist's model and circus performer

I'd expect to see the maverick planet Uranus figure prominently in her natal chart. Let's see:

She was born on 23 September 1865 in Bessines-sur-Gartempe (near Limoges), France. According to Astrotheme she was born at 6.00am.

If Astrotheme's birth time for Suzanne is anywhere near accurate, then Uranus was right at mid-heaven when she was born - one of the strongest points in the chart.
Her Sun, in the earliest degree of Libra, is right on the ascendant angle, the strongest point of all, and in square aspect to Uranus. This is an antagonistic aspect, which in this case could be seen as an antagonism between Libra's pull to art and beauty, and Uranus's pull towards an urge to be different, and a wee bit obtuse. Also in Libra, ruled by Venus, planet of the arts, are Mars and Saturn, adding weight to her innate urge to make art of some kind. Moon in Scorpio - her strong draw to sexual adventures and eroticism.

Some examples of her work are below. I don't see these as being in any way exceptional, though they're pleasant enough. I guess that her connections to "big name" painters and the emergence of her son as one of them did a lot to help her own painting to gain attention. As always, it's not what you know or what you can do - it's WHO you know!






Wisewebwoman said...

Wonderful artist. Thanks for digging her up, T. I never heard of her.
Gorgeous work.
PS Welcome back!

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Quite a character, she was, it seems.

Thanks. :-)

Anonymous said...

She is a wonderful artist but I don't understand why you need to classify her as "Utrillo's Mom" or simply a Woman artist. Why could she not be classified simply as artist.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ I appreciate your point. My reason for the "Utrillo's Mom" reference was that Utrillo is a well-known name, even to those not well-versed in art history, I decided it would provide some context for the artist featured - Ms Valadon who many outside of the art world might not be aware of. I thought it might tempt someone to read who might otherwise have passed on by. :-)

Anonymous said...

Suzanne Valadon corrigée / Suzanne Valadon corregida