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Exhibitions

The MNAC presents the first anthology about Suzanne Valadon

Suzanne Valadon, an emblematic figure of Montmartre bohemia at the beginning of the 20th century, practiced all genres, from portrait and nude to still life and landscape.

Suzanne Valadon. L'habitació blava, 1923. Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne - Centre de creació industrielle, París
The MNAC presents the first anthology about Suzanne Valadon

From April 19, the MNAC presents the anthological exhibition of Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938), A Modern Epic, organized by the MNAC in collaboration with the Center Pompidou-Metz and the Musée d'arts de Nantes. This exhibition presents for the first time in Spain the work of one of the most relevant artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in France.

The exhibition brings together creations from his entire artistic career, mainly paintings and drawings that belong to various institutions and individuals, among which the Pompidou Center in Paris and the National Museum itself stand out. In total it brings together 112 works, of which 48 can only be seen in Barcelona. During the presentation of the press conference on April 17, the director of the National Museum, Pepe Serra, and the two curators of the exhibition, Eduard Vallès and Philip Dennis Cate, who were in charge of making the visit discussed in the press. Suzanne Valadon, pseudonym of Marie-Clémentine Valadon, was a painter, draftsman and engraver and practiced all artistic genres, but excelled in portraiture, with a special interest in female nudes and odalisques, which became the pinnacle of her production

This exhibition, which can be visited until September 1, 2024, brings together a total of 109 works, of which a significant number can only be seen in Barcelona: from oils on canvas and cardboard, drawings and engravings, sculptures in plaster and bronze, as well as diverse documentary material that allows us to show a retrospective and contextualized view of the career of a woman artist who played a very important role in avant-garde Paris. Valadon's works are complemented by works by contemporary, French and Catalan artists that Valadon dealt with, such as Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Casas or Rusiñol, and which give a good idea of the richness of the artistic atmosphere of the era, while explaining the multiple interactions that took place in avant-garde environments and, above all, the social conquest of artist status by a woman.

The MNAC presents the first anthology about Suzanne Valadon Suzanne Valadon. Dona amb mitges blanques, 1924, © Nancy, Musée des Beaux Arts/ G.Mangin

Valadon, model and self-taught

At the age of fifteen, Valadon, who was self-taught, arrived in Montmartre, and trained as an artist by watching closely how some of the most eminent artists of his time worked, such as Toulouse-Lautrec or Renoir, among others, by to which he acted as a model. As for the word that gives the title of this exhibition "epic", it refers to her extraordinary journey from model to consecrated artist, with few equivalents in the history of art. This Barcelona exhibition also has its own distribution and museography, as well as a catalog that helps to explain the artist's connection with the rich colony of Catalan artists in Montmartre at the end of the 19th century, such as Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas or Miquel Utrillo, who was Valadon's partner and who assumed paternity of her son, the future painter Maurice Utrillo. Currently, Valadon's works are present in the most important museums in the world, such as the Metropolitan Musem in New York, the Fine Arts Museum in Boston, etc.

Exhibition divided into eight areas

The anthological exhibition is divided into eight areas of the museum which are: Montmartre de Valadon, in this section the Seven Years' War and Chinese Shadows stand out; Terrible Maria, a model for modernity, with a subsection entitled The female figure and mass culture; Drawing and Degas at the origin of everything; The recovery of the same image; The portrait and female complicity, with a section entitled The picture gallery of a vital mosaic; The Legend of Suzanne and Erik, The Bohemian Satie; The conquest of the nude, with Odalisques and Still Lifes and A triumphant epic.

As for the parallel activities that have been scheduled during the course of this exhibition, they are from an opening conference on Thursday, April 18 by the curators of the exhibition, guided visits on Saturday, May 18 and Saturdays in June and July, presentation of the exhibition by the curator on April 27, author visit Suzanne Valadon seen by Elina Norandi on May 4, Chinese shadow workshop, round table and piano concert, session of drawing with live models, dramatized reading with Chinese shadows and visits in French for the students of the Institut Français and the French community of Barcelona.

It should also be noted that the exhibition will have a final space for rest and mediation, the + Valadon space, in which different resources and contents will be offered in order to show other stories and points of view around the exhibition. Reference should be made to the launch of an online channel (canal.mesmanac.cat), or a showcase of the museum's digital audiovisual content, which the museum opens with materials related to the museum's latest exhibitions and activities.

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