Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Louise Nude on the Sofa

The daughter of an unmarried domestic worker, Suzanne Valadon grew up in Montmartre, the bohemian quarter of Paris, and as a young girl worked as a circus acrobat. After falling from a trapeze, she abandoned the profession and became a model (and lover) for many important artists. Valadon had no formal artistic training, but she learned from the painters around her, including Edgar Degas who taught her drawing and etching techniques. Within the first year of pursuing her own artistic career, she made a series of monoprints based on her drawings. Valadon produced many similar images of female nudes early in her career (often on the same sofa). Noted for their bold contour lines, flat colors, and personal vision, Valadon’s depictions of the female nude reflect the same independent spirit that characterized her own life and added an alternative perspective to the traditional male gaze.

Suzanne Valadon
French, 1865–1938
Louise Nude on the Sofa (Louise nue sur la canap), 1895
Soft-ground etching with monotype in brown red ink on paper
Image/plate: 9 ¾ x 11 in. (24.8 x 27.9 cm); sheet: 13 15/16 x 13 9/16 in. (35.4 x 34.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 79.89