Books, Music & Movies · Renoir's Dancer

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Renoir's Dancer:The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon

Catherine Hewitt

Hewitt continues to tell stories of powerful yet overlooked French women (The Mistress of Paris, 2017) with this biography of model, artist, and mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938). Raised in poverty, she moved to Montmartre, where as a beautiful teenager she began posing for some of the Impressionists’ most renowned paintings (including Renoir’s Dance at Bougival). When her own artistic talent was discovered, friends Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas championed her work, which was accepted to the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1894, an extraordinary achievement for a working-class woman with no formal art training.