On the subject of love, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec once said to singer Yvette Guilbert "Ah love! Love! (…) Now if you sang about desire, one could understand and even laugh at the variety of its tricks… But love, my poor Yvette, there is no such thing!" The only woman who came as close as anyone to capturing his heart was Marie-Clémentine Valadon, better known as Suzanne Valadon.

Lautrec made Suzanne’s acquaintance when she was a model, posing for artists such as Renoir and Puvis de Chavanne. She quickly took a deep interest in Lautrec’s work, and loved the unvarnished view of the world it contained. Like Lautrec, Suzanne was a talented painter herself, as he came to discover quite by accident. He greatly encouraged her gift. Through her determined efforts, Suzanne Valadon managed to make a place for herself in an artistic world that had long been dominated by men. In 1894, she became the first woman painter admitted to the Société des Beaux-arts.

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