Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel

The Barnes Foundation



Suzanne Valadon, Nude Sitting on a Sofa, 1916, oil on canvas, 32” x 23”. Courtesy of the Weisman & Michel Collection, © 2021 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Suzanne Valadon. Portrait of Louis Moysés, Founder of Le Boeuf sur le Toit, c. 1924. The Weisman & Michel Collection. © 2021 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Ensemble view, Room 23, north wall (detail), Philadelphia, 2019. Photo by Sean Murray, © 2020 The Barnes Foundation.

A monographic exhibition on French painter Suzanne Valadon (1865–1938) will consider her under-recognized contributions to early 20th-century art and contemplate themes of female desire and physicality, marriage, and motherhood. After a career as an artist’s model, sitting for Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Valadon became a successful painter and was the first self-taught woman to exhibit at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Over nearly 40 years, she drew from multiple traditions to paint a variety of nudes, portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. The exhibition will be curated by Nancy Ireson, the Barnes Foundation’s deputy director for collections and exhibitions and Gund family chief curator, and accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue. The project will place Valadon’s portraits and nudes in conversation with the Barnes’ collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century paintings by male artists to provoke questions about the representation of women in the art-historical canon.  

The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.