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Current Exhibition

Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel

Until January 9, 2022

Groundbreaking paintings by the French artist.


Suzanne Valadon. Nude Sitting on a Sofa (detail), 1916. The Weisman & Michel Collection. © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Adults $25; seniors $23; students $5; members free

About the Exhibition

Praise for Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel:

“Revelatory… A thrilling tour of [Valadon's] portraits, nudes, still lifes, and drawings."
The New York Times

“A brilliant artist making breathtaking paintings that have the flat, colorful solidity of Gauguin, but a piercing intelligence and emotional insight.”
The Washington Post

“[A] maverick artist, who often drew from her own life to create a body of work that envisions the 20th-century woman.”

“Breathing new life into rebellious early 20th-century art.”
Broad Street Review

Explore the life, art, and legacy of groundbreaking French painter Suzanne Valadon in her first major US exhibition.

From a childhood marked by poverty to a career as a popular artist’s model, Suzanne Valadon (born Marie-Clémentine Valadon, 1865–1938) defied the odds to become a successful artist, confounding societal expectations to assert her independence. The first self-taught woman to exhibit at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, she challenged behavioral codes with her art and lifestyle, breaking new ground with her unapologetic portraits and nudes.

This exhibition considers Valadon’s rich contribution to the early 20th-century art world, the artist’s agency in her career, and her business dealings and marketing strategies. Confrontational and witty, her works tackle themes that remain provocative today: female desire, the conflicts of marriage and motherhood, and a woman’s experience of her own physicality.

Scroll down for related programs.

Exhibition Catalogue

Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel


Copublished by the Barnes and Paul Holberton Publishing and edited by curator Nancy Ireson, this beautifully illustrated volume reconsiders the life and legacy of the revolutionary artist.

Exhibition Organization

This exhibition is curated by Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes Foundation.


Major support for Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel has been provided by:

Additional support is provided by:

Denise Littlefield Sobel

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt

Ongoing support for exhibitions comes from the Christine and Michael Angelakis Exhibition Fund, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Aileen and Brian Roberts.

In addition, support for all exhibitions comes from contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund:

Joan Carter and John Aglialoro, Julia and David Fleischner, Leigh and John Middleton, Jeanette and Joe Neubauer

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Lois and Julian Brodsky, N. Judith Broudy, Laura and Bill Buck, Elaine W. Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr., Eugene and Michelle Dubay, Penelope Harris, Christine and George Henisee, Jones & Wajahat Family, Lisa D. Kabnick and John H. McFadden, Marguerite Lenfest, Maribeth and Steven Lerner, Victoria McNeil Le Vine, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan, The Park Family, The Rittenhouse Hotel, Adele K. Schaeffer, Katie and Tony Schaeffer, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Stark, Joan F. Thalheimer, Bruce and Robbi Toll, van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Kirsten White, Anonymous.

Related Programs

Free Member Previews
Friday, September 24, and Saturday, September 25
Members are invited to see the exhibition before it opens.

Curatorial Talk
Sunday, September 26, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Talk by curator Nancy Ireson about the exhibition.

Exhibition Tours: Suzanne Valadon
Daily through January 9, 2022, 1 – 2pm
Learn more about the artist, her career, and her work with an in-depth tour of the exhibition. Tours are offered both on-site and online.

Private Exhibition Tour: Suzanne Valadon
Daily through January 9, 2022
Tour the exhibition and learn about Valadon’s extraordinary life. This is a private one-hour experience for you and up to four guests.

First Friday!
October 1, 6 – 9pm
Join us for late-night art and a performance by the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra.

Barnes Art Ball
Friday, October 15, 7pm
The Barnes’s annual fundraiser brings together artists, collectors, philanthropists, and community partners for a night of diverse and dynamic creative experiences. Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel will set the tone and serve as the backdrop for this dazzling evening.

Lecture: Aruna D’Souza on “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”
Saturday, October 16, 12:30pm
Drawing its title from Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”, this lecture by scholar Aruna D’Souza considers the societal challenges faced by Valadon, her female peers, and contemporary women artists.

Young Professionals Night: Rebel, Rebel
Friday, October 22, 7 – 10pm
After-hours art, style, and music await Philadelphia’s young leaders and Contemporaries members.

November Spotlight Tour: Valadon’s Artistic Circle
Thursday–Monday, 1pm
This tour focuses on artists in the Barnes collection—Degas, Renoir, Modigliani, and more—who were part of Suzanne Valadon’s remarkable life.

First Friday! Unison feat. Joanna Pascale
Friday, November 5, 6 – 9pm
Enjoy live music plus access to the collection and Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel. Tonight, Philly jazz group Unison performs.

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Wings
Sunday, November 7, 10am – 5pm
Free access to the collection and Suzanne Valadon exhibition, plus art activities, storytime, and a performance by Native Nations Dance Theater.

In Focus Gallery Talk: Suzanne Valadon’s Marie Coca and Her Daughter Gilberte
Monday, November 8, 3 – 3:30pm

Jalen Chang, a PhD in the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania, leads an in-depth discussion about the painting.

Artist Bash: Vagina Chorus
Friday, November 12, 7 – 10pm
Althea Rao’s Vagina Chorus speaks to key themes within the exhibition—desire, the female gaze, and a woman’s relationship with her body. This world premiere performance, presented through a unique partnership with Women’s Way, is an immersive audiovisual experience.

December Spotlight Tour: Valadon’s Artistic Circle
Thursday–Monday, 1pm
This tour focuses on artists in the Barnes collection—Degas, Renoir, Modigliani, and more—who were part of Suzanne Valadon’s remarkable life.

First Friday! Yolanda Wisher & the Afroeaters
Friday, December 3, 6 – 9pm
Join us for late-night art and a performance by Philly jazz group Yolanda Wisher & the Afroeaters.

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Faces
Sunday, December 5, 10am – 5pm
Free access to the collection and Suzanne Valadon exhibition, plus fun games, storytime, and dance performances.

Lecture: Caetlin Benson-Allott on the Female Gaze
Saturday, December 11, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Benson-Allott, a film and media expert, shares how contemporary filmmakers, critics, and scholars are redefining the female gaze in the 21st century.


No Apologies: Suzanne Valadon
Kathryn McFadden; Wednesdays, October 6–27, 1 – 3pm
Learn about the irrepressible life and art of French painter Suzanne Valadon. Class includes weekly access to the exhibition.

The Nude in France: From the Ideal to the Real
Corrinne Chong; Saturdays, October 9–30, 11am – 1pm

From the playful boudoir scenes of the rococo to the provocative working-class models of the avant-garde, this online class looks at the critical transformation of the nude over the 19th century.

Posers: A History of the Artist’s Model in European Painting
Martha Lucy and Kedra Kearis; Wednesdays, November 10–December 8, 6 – 8pm
This online course explores the behind-the-scenes realities of the artist’s model across time, focusing especially on the class and gender dynamics of the 19th-century studio.