The Abandoned Doll
Genre: Oil on canvas
- Nixon, Lois LaCivita
- Date of entry: Oct-27-1999
- Last revised: May-19-2009
In this and other works, French artist Suzanne Valadon steps outside the boundaries established for women artists in the male-dominated world of art. Portrayal of the gazed-upon female nude was reserved for men who conventionally painted them as objects: ageless, beautiful, seductive, passive, and vulnerable. Women painted flowers and children, not nudes.
Not only does Valadon violate traditional expectations, she presents an adolescent nude who, like most adolescents, is self-absorbed with her appearance. She is not positioned for the viewer's gaze, but for her own self-appraisal. The pubescent child/woman sits at the edge of the bed intent upon her own image in a handheld mirror. In contrast, a fully clothed woman, probably her mother, sits behind her on the bed gently towel-drying the girl's shoulder and arm.
Delese Wear and Lois LaCivita Nixon, Literary Anatomies: Women's Bodies and Health in Literature, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 1994, cover (b/w).