PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractSuzanne Valadon was a French painter of the early twentieth century who is better known within literature as an artist’s model for prominent men like Puvis de Chavannes, Renoir, and Toulouse Lautrec. During her life, however, she experienced great critical success for her depictions of the female nude, of whom she imbued with an active sense of agency and consciousness of mind. An analysis of her oeuvre and common themes provides a glimpse of the ambivalence of her career as both model and painter. Valadon had the unique opportunity and position to depict female nudes in a way that visually granted a sense of agency and consciousness in a genre that was typically defined by male artists’ applied dominance. Valadon refused to adhere to traditional notions of looking that were precedently set by male artists. Instead, she used confrontational and active depictions of female nudes, adolescent girls experiencing puberty, and her own self portrayal to grapple with ideas of self awareness and an active state of mind. Upon the visual analysis of both Valadon’s paintings and those for which she modeled, it is revealed that her history as an artist’s model prompted her to challenge patriarchal conventions of the female nude.
Degree ProgramArt History