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    Description

    SUZANNE VALADON (French, 1865-1938)
    Still Life with Fruit and Glass, 1910
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 24-1/4 inches (50.8 x 61.6 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left and lower right: Suzanne Valadon / 1910

    PROVENANCE:
    Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York;
    Private collection, San Antonio, Texas, purchased from the above July 27, 1955;
    By descent to the current owner;
    [With] Gerald P. Peters, Santa Fe, New Mexico (label verso).

    Jean Fabris, of the Association Maurice Utrillo, has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this lot.

    Regarded by many as one of France's greatest female artists, Suzanne Valadon was born Marie-Clémentine Valadon in 1865 at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, near Limoges, to an unmarried laundress. In poverty, Valadon was forced to support herself by seeking odd jobs as early as age nine. As a young woman, Valadon made her living posing for artists in the Montmarte quarter of Paris, carefully observing their techniques. She modeled for such artists as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and ultimately became the mistress of both Puvis and Renoir. At the age of eighteen, Valadon gave birth to an illegitimate son, the future famed artist Maurice Utrillo, who would struggle tragically with alcoholism and mental illness.

    Mingling with the illustrious group of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists populating Montmarte at the turn of the century, Valadon absorbed many Modernist styles and tenets, developing a unique aesthetic that was all her own. Valadon's distinct style was described by John Strom, one of her biographers, as "...primitive, strong, and frank, abounding in health and vigorous color; [owing] its power solely to the nervous energy and personality of a woman who came to grips with deeply tragic experiences of life" (J. Storm, The Valadon Drama, New York, 1959, p. 15). In the early 1890s, Valadon befriended Edgar Degas who, impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, purchased her work and encouraged her efforts. The two would remain close friends until his death. In 1894, Valadon became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

    Painted in 1910, Still Life with Fruit and Glass is an exceptional example of the influence of early Modernist movements on Valadon's work at the turn of the century. Perhaps most evident here is the influence of Paul Cézanne, particularly through her juxtaposed patches of pure color applied with abbreviated brushstrokes, simplification of objects to their basic geometric forms, heavy outlines and vivid localized color, and a flattened picture plane, or "tipped table-top" perspective. Cézanne's work, profoundly influential on countless artists, led to the invention of Cubism by Picasso and Braque, and Valadon was most certainly looking closely at his work at this time. Nevertheless, Still Life with Fruit and Glass characterizes her own unique style of composition, with its Fauvist palette, vivid contrast between darks and lights, incorporation of an eye-catching decorative dish, and careful placement of a leafy pear branch that skillfully unites the otherwise discrete left and right halves of the composition.

    In 1915, Valadon had her first solo exhibition, which was a success both critically and commercially. The ensuing notoriety would continue throughout her life. French bourgeois society was often shocked by Valadon's art; in particular, her depictions of female nudes, with their candid female sexuality, challenged traditional male notions of femininity and defied convention, much like her own bohemian lifestyle. The artist once famously wrote, "The purpose of my life: equilibrium." Indeed, it was Valadon's art that brought her the serenity she sought so hard to achieve. Upon her death in 1938, scores of important figures from the Parisian art community attended her funeral, including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and André Derain. Valadon's works are included in numerous institutions, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Grenoble, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.




    Condition Report*: Wax-lined canvas with very good surface condition; under UV examination, scattered fine in-painting throughout the green background, on the glass, and along the bottom edge; minor flecks of in-painting on the plate rim and left apple.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    17th Tuesday
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