Marie Laurencin is known for her lovely pastel dreamy paintings but she was also able to do something few female artists were able to do. Marie was accepted into the folds of the biggest artists of the time and held her own.
Born on October 31, 1883 she showed very early, against her mothers wishes, a talent for art. At 18 she enrolled in the porcelain painting school at Sévres, much like Renoir started. The next year she joined the Humbert Academy and met fellow artists Georges Braque and Francis Picabia who led her into the art circles of Paris.
Gallery owner Clovis Sagot on Rue Laffitte gave Marie her first exhibition where she would meet Picasso, Delauney, Rousseau, Max Jacobs. and poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Marie inspired the struggling writer and served as his muse over their six year relationship. Her first painting she ever sold featured the poet surrounded by his friends, Picasso, Fernande Olivier, Stein, Gillot and Cremnitz and was purchased by Gertrude Stein.
Spending a brief period in the Cubist and Fauvist movement she later named her style “nymphism”. Staying close to what she liked she used her favorite colors, pink, grey, blue and white and predominantly painted women and girls. As a child she would keep beads and ribbons in her pocket, always gravitating to pretty things.
In the 20’s & 30’s she was commissioned to paint portraits of the Paris elite which she didn’t like. Instead of painting them how they wanted to be seen, she painted them as she saw them. Chanel asked her to paint her and when it was complete she refused to pay her for it. As one that controlled her story and her image that was always seen through a filter she didn’t like the stern look on her face. The painting would end up in the collection of Paul Guillaume and hanging in the Musée de l’Orangerie today.
Marie’s life story is greatly overshadowed by her many relationships but her art should never be forgotten. The airy dream like pastel paintings of dancing ladies always bring a smile to your face when they are discovered.
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