Valadon started out her career in the art world as an artist’s model in the early 1880s, but soon decided to go behind the canvas, so to speak. Valadon is especially known for her nudes. According to Whitney Chadwick, author of Women, Art, and Society,
Valadon’s female nudes fuse observation with a knowledge of the female body based o her experience as a model. Rejecting the static and timeless presentation of the monumental nude that dominates Western art, she emphasizes context, specific moment, and physical action.
Especially relevant to the painting, The Blue Room (1923) above, Chadwick notes,
Instead of presenting the female body as a lush surface isolated and controlled by the male gaze, she emphasizes the awkward gestures of figures apparently in control of their own movements.
With the painting above, we see a woman in casual clothes (especially casual given the era), smoking, and scratching her leg maybe–definitely not your typical picture of a woman for the time. At any rate, the outfit of the woman pictured is surprisingly relevant for now, no? Here’s our take below.