Nu couché (1928)

Valadon, Suzanne (1865-1938)

Nu couché (Reclining Nude)
Oil on cardboard, 60 x 80.48 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

Suzanne Valadon posed as a model for the artists Renoir, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec before she began painting herself in 1893. While she favored still-lives and portraits, Valadon is best known for her paintings of female nudes—a subject rarely chosen by women painters at the time. The reclining nude in the present painting confronts the viewer through her gaze and proximity to the picture plane, yet she obscures her body, crossing her legs and covering her breasts. The pose evokes gestures of modesty associated with classical Antique sculpture. (MET)