Tuesday, November 17, 2020

André Utter

André Utter (1886 - 1948) was a French painter.

André Utter's father was a plumber, and Utter was an electrician before he became a self-taught painter of Parisian bohemians. His friend Maurice Utrillo introduced the twenty-year-old to his mother Suzanne Valadon in 1906. He became her lover and was her first male model to pose naked for her from 1909 to 1914.

Valadon introduced him to artistic circles and felt inspired by the love for her boyfriend, who was 21 years her junior.  At the beginning of the twentieth century this sexual relationship between female painter and male model was an exception and represented a reversal of the traditional gender hierarchy.

Valadon also broke with conventions in her paintings by Utter. At a time when female artists who worked by nude were met with resentment, she and her lover painted herself as Adam and Eve, walking serenely through a summer landscape.

Valadon, 1926

Utter and Valadon married shortly before he was drafted into World War I. After he returned in 1918, Utter drew and painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits in the style of a moderate expressionism, which, like Valadon, tended towards naturalism.

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