A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

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Valadon, Suzanne (1865-1938). French painter, born at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, near Limoges. She was the illegitimate daughter of a maid and was brought up in Paris in bleak and unaffectionate circumstances. As a girl she worked as a circus acrobat, but she had to abandon this after a fall and then became an artists' model and the reigning beauty of Montmartre. The artists she posed for included *Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and the *Symbolist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (each of whom numbered among her lovers). She had drawn since childhood, and Toulouse-Lautrec brought her work to the attention of * Degas, who encouraged her to develop her artistic talent. In 1896 she married, and the financial support of her husband allowed her to work full-time as an artist. Her first one-woman show was in 1915 and after the First World War she achieved critical and financial success. She had no formal training and owed little to the influence of the artists with whom she associated, her painting showing a fresh and personal vision. Her subjects included still-life and portraits (including self-portraits in which she brings out her formidable strength of character), but she was at her best in figure paintings, which often have a splendid earthy vigour and a striking use of bold contour and flat colour ( The Blue Room, Pompidou Centre, Paris, 1923). A child of the people, she has been compared with the writer Colette for her sharpness of eye and avidity for life. After divorcing her first husband, in 1914 she married the painter André Utter ( 1886-1948), who was a friend of her son Maurice *Utrillo and some 20 years younger than her. In her final years she was estranged from both Utter and Utrillo and her health was ruined by the excesses of her life.

Valentin, Curt (1902-54). German art dealer who settled in the USA in 1936. In 1937 he opened a gallery in New York (originally called the Buchholz Gallery, after a firm he had worked for in Berlin, but renamed the Curt Valentin Gallery in 1951). Before he moved to the USA he had built up links with many distinguished artists in Europe, and he played an important role in introducing German art to American audiences, helping to overcome the dominance previously enjoyed by French art (he also dealt in British and Italian works). Max *Beckmann was one of his main enthusiasms (he helped organize the major exhibition of his work at the St Louis Art Museum in 1948), and the other artists he promoted included * Arp, * Feininger, * Kirchner, and * Klee. He dealt in sculpture as well as painting, and he was much admired in the art world for his knowledge and fairness. His gallery closed the year after his death.

Vale Press. See RICKETTS.

Valette, Adolphe. See LOWRY.

Vallgren, Ville (1855-1940). The leading Finnish sculptor at the turn of the century. He spent most of his career in Paris ( 1877-1913), but he sent work back to Finland, notably his 'Havis Amanda' fountain, Helsinki, featuring a central bronze figure of a nymph in his characteristically graceful * Art Nouveau style and four playful sea-lions around the rim of the granite bowl. Parts of it were exhibited to great acclaim at the Paris Salon of 1908. There is a museum dedicated to Vallgren near Helsinki.

Vallotton, Félix (1865-1925). Swiss-born painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who became a French citizen in 1900. He was born in Lausanne and after attending evening classes in art locally he moved to Paris in 1882 to study at the * Académie Julian. Paris remained his home until his death, but he often visited Switzerland and made numer

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