Sunday, May 31, 2015

Proust on Taking Tea in the Winter

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Edward George Handel Lucas (English artist, 1861-1936) Silent Advocates of Temperance 1891

From Remembrances of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu 1913-22), here is Proust's young memory of taking tea...

"When one day in winter, on my return home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell.

"And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shiver ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.

"And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory - this new sensation having had the effect, which love has, of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it-was-me.

"I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. When could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savors..."

Marcel Proust 1871-1922.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) painted Carmen Gaudin


Often the portraits of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) take a back seat to his popular poster art. As we saw with his portraits of Suzanne Valadon, he created serious paintings of those he encountered in Montmartre. One of his favorite models, in addition to Suzanne Valadon, was another laundress named Carmen Gaudin (1866?–1920).

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin , 1885

My favorites of his portraits, by far, are his early paintings of Carmen Gaudin.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Red-Headed Woman in a White Blouse in the Artist's Studio

The model for this series of Lautrec paintings Carmen Gaudin apparently made her living as a laundress, model, and prostitute.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin

It is reported that Lautrec spotted Carmen, as she was leaving a Montmartre restaurant sometime in the summer of 1885.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin The Red-Headed Woman

Lautrec was reportedly infatuated with red-headed women. He seemed to be attracted to Carmen both for her beauty & her tawdriness. He had been born into a traditional, well-to-do family.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Lowered Head 1885

Lautrec is supposed to have intended to improve her lot in life by making her his model, but it appears that she had already posed for the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens, and later worked as a model for artist Fernand Cormon as well. Cormon was Lautrec's art teacher.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin At Montrouge. 1886-87.

In autumn 1885, Lautrec wrote to his aristocratic mother, that he was "painting a woman whose hair is absolute gold," referring to Carmen. Tucked deep into the artist's community at Montmartre was the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret, where Toulouse-Lautrec executed a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Red-Headed Woman in the Garden of M. Foret, Summer 1887

 He was able to portray Carmen in realistic poses and situations which he would not have been able to do with client friends from his family.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin 1889

Throughout his voluminous body of work his models were often prostitutes, commonly the only source of female models willing to bare more than their face or hands.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Woman in a Garden 1889

Lautrec did not portray his models in a demeaning way, he seemed to want to capture the spirit of his models. And, with them, he could play with light and shadows, as he could not with traditional portraits.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin as The Laundress. 1889, although some say that the model for this particular painting, and perhaps the following portrait, was Suzanne Valadon, during a period when her hair was dyed red.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Red-Haired Woman The Toilette. 1889.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) - Andre Utter (1886-1948) Model, Lover, Husband, & Business Manager


We should not leave artist Suzanne Valadon's (1865-1938) life without mentioning her relationship with her son's friend, painter Andre Utter (1886-1948). 


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Adam and Eve 1909


In 1906, her son Maurice Utrillo introduced her to his friend Andre Utter. At that time, she was married to stockbroker Paul Mousis, whom she had married in 1896. 


Suzanne Valadon (1867-1938) Andre Utter and his Dogs

She fell in love with André Utter, 21 years her junior. He became the love of her life, her business manager, and her husband.



Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) The launch of the 1914 net


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait with her Family c 1910 Self-portrait with Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), husband Andre Utter (1886-1948) and Utter's mother


Andre Utter (1886-1948) Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) 


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955), and Andre Utter (1886-1948) 1919




Monday, May 25, 2015

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) - Model, artist, muse, lover, & mother of an artist


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) c 1889


2009 Exhibit at the Pinacoteca of Paris


Mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and Son Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955) c 1889

In 2009, the Pinacoteca of Paris exhibited of paintings of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) & her son Maurice Valadon Utrillo (1883-1955). Theirs is a complicated tale.


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) was born Marie-Clémentine Valadon in France.



Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)


Mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and Son Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955)

She was the daughter of unmarried laundress & was raised in Paris in bleak, lonely circumstances.

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

She was a poor, uneducated child of the streets of Paris called Montmartre. From the age of nine she supported herself by doing odd jobs.  Apparently she taught herself to draw by age 9.  As a very young woman she worked as a laundress & a dressmaker's assistant. Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of 15. A year later, a fall from a trapeze ended hat career aspiration.

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955)

A beautiful girl, she found work as year artists' model both to support herself and to observe & learn the artists' techniques.

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait 1883


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Profile of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) 1885

In order to separate the painter from the model, Valadon, whose given name was Marie-Clementine, worked as a model using the name Maria. As an artist, she signed her work Suzanne Valadon. 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) The Bathers, 1885-87 Models include Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

She modeled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons), Amedeo Modigliani, Marcel Leprin, Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, & Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes.

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait 1898


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Portrait of her Son Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), her mother & his grandmother and his dog, 1910


Edgar Degas (1834-1917) The Tub model Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

At age 18, she became the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo Valadon.

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait 1918


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Self Portrait


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Said To Be Self Portrait


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) City Dance (Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and Eugène Pierre Lestringuez) 1883


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Dance at Bougival (Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and Paul Lhote) 1883



Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Portrait of Composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) c.1892


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Portrait of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Girl Braiding Her Hair Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) 1885


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Portrait of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Portrait of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) 1885


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Portrait of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) The Hangover 1888


Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)


Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)


Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955) Portrait of His Mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

By the end of the 1st World War, she achieved critical & financial success. She continued to exhibit regularly, reaching the peak of her fame in the 1920s. 

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)

Suzanne Valadon died on 7 April 1938 & in attendance at her funeral were her friends & colleagues, Andre Derain, Pablo Picasso, & Georges Braque.

Marcel Leprin (1891-1933) Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and her Cat


Mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and Son Maurice Utrillo, born Maurice Valadon (1883-1955)


Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)