Thursday, 17 May 2012

Suzanne Meunier (1888-1974) - Boudoir Art

etching signed in pencil - Copyright - Camile Lucas, NYC 1935

Suzanne Meunier is one of only two female artists creating etchings in the Boudoir style. It's unsurprisingly a male dominated genre, this is a very 19th century attitude when the men were free to study the female form whilst the ladies were left studying flowers. The two ladies currently on my list are Vala Moro and now Suzanne Meunier, both created original signed etchings of nude or partially dressed young ladies. Whilst Vala Moro's pictures were closer to the Icart style, Meunier's work tends toward the graphic Vargas "Pin Up" style.

etching signed in pencil - Copyright - Camile Lucas, NYC 1935

Unlike the artist Paul Ordner, whose etching appear to have been created early in his career, Suzanne's etching seem to date from the later years, after she was already established as an artist illustrator. -- more of that later.

Suzanne was France and born towards the end of the 19th century - that is the start and end of the "facts" about her life, the rest is lost or has not been found yet. Even her dates are mysterious, the only dates I have seen are 1847-1954, which means she lived to 107 and that she created the etchings above when she was 88 years old !! these dates just do not feel correct - perhaps another S Meunier or maybe just wrong. 

Postcard, dated 1919

What we can be sure of is the dates of her commercial illustration and the development of her style.


Her graphic art and illustrations appear in many fashionable French magazine, starting with "Le Sourire" from  1917 until the 1930's,  "LA Vie Parisienne" from c1918, "Fantasio" c1918 and "Eros" from c1922.

Eros magazine from c1922 - Suzanne illustrated many covers for them until c1930.

Cover design for the French magazine Le Sourire dated 1930

Her style can be seen to develop from the early illustration from the end of World War 1, that are similar in style to those etchings by Maurice Milliere of the same period through to the 1930's where we see that the faces have develop into her own "pin up" style and it's this style that we see in her etchings of the mid 1930's

Etchings c1935. 

For those of you collecting the original boudoir art etchings and aquatints; remember to look for clear plate marks and pencil signatures. There plenty of beautiful picture and postcards to be bought and these are quite inexpensive. Her images must popular - you can now buy then as giclee and canvas prints !!

As a bit of an after thought - I wonder whether she is related to any of the other Meunier artists ? Especially Henri Meunier (1873-1922), who as a graphic artist specialised in the late Victorian/Edwardian version of our boudoir art with such images as;


............ or - Jean Bapiste Meunier or Constantin Meunier (1831-1905)

New Information
Thanks to Daniel Auliac for information confirming that Suzanne was born in 1888 and died in 1974. This makes more sense of the mystery. She created these works as a mature artist but not mature in years ! Daniel has written her biography which can be bought on Amazon by on the titled - Suzanne Meunier


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