The Blue Room [Suzanne Valadon]

Griff Stecyk


Suzanne Valdon started out as an art model, and taught herself to paint by observing the technique of the great impressionists like Renoir who painted her.  

The Blue Room reflects her experiences posing.  Unlike male artists who had no experience being the object of the gaze, who tended to paint even voluptuous figures appearing light as air, she gives us a real sense of the heft and volume of this buxom babe.

We see a woman lounging on a messy bed, a cigarette in her mouth and some discarded reading material at her feet.  She’s got on her “People you see at Walmart” striped pajama pants with a hint of camel toe, and her peach cami and no bra.  This gal cares about comfort over traditional beauty standards, and we love that!  Some art historians identify the sitter as Valdon herself, but others as just another female model.  She does bear a passing resemblance to Valdon in self portraits.

Valdon borrows the pose from Renaissance nudes, especially Titian’s Venus and Cupid with an Organist, which sought to idealize the female form for rich male patrons who didn’t have access to internet porn.  Valdon turns the convention upside down.  Her “Venus” is a modern woman.  She smokes, she reads, her breasts sag and she couldn’t care less.

The Blue Room [Suzanne Valadon] is mentioned on Sartle Blog -