Renoir’s Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon

Renoir’s Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon

St. Martin’s Press, 2018, 381 pages

Valadon as seen by Toulouse lautrec

Valadon as seen by Toulouse lautrec

The lives of female artists have seldom been easy.  This turns out to have been painfully true of the French Post Impressionist Suzanne  Valadon, who began her life as the illegitimate daughter of a linen maid in the Limousin region of France.  Her mother, left widowed young, by a husband who was a forger, subsequently apprehended, and sentenced to hard labor, decided to move to Paris to better her lot and that of the young daughter born to her some years after her husband’s death. Fate dealt the pair a severe blow, for the year of their move was 1869-70, or the year of the Paris Commune, and the resulting rioting, and famine.  Continue reading