Marie Laurencin French, 1883-1956


Marie Laurencin was born in Paris in 1883 to Pauline Laurencin and Alfred Toulet, a man about whom she knew nothing until much later in her life. At the age of eighteen, at the behest of her mother, she began to study porcelain painting in Sevres, the leading porcelain factory in Europe at the time. In 1903 she returned to Paris and enrolled in the modest Académie Humbert to study art where, under the influence of her friend Georges Braque, decided to concentrate on oil painting. It was through Braque that Laurencin befriended many of the Montmarte artists, poets, writers, and musicians, including Ferdinand Leger, Juan Gris, Marcel Duchamp, and a young Pablo Picasso. It was during this period Laurencin also met the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, who would become both her lover and her greatest advocate in the press.


In 1912 Laurencin collaborated on the Maison Cubiste with Duchamp-Villon and André Mare, a project which represented her first foray into the field of design. She exhibited at the landmark Armory Show of 1913 in New York, wrote poetry, made book illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, designed sets for Diaghilev's Ballets Russe and the Comédie Francaise in 1928. She was also a costume designer, interior designer, and lithograper in addition to painting.


Among Laurencin’s commissioned portraits is her portrait of Coco Chanel made in 1923. Her work in pastels and curvilinear designs stood as a check to the modernism of the day and defined her work as a feminine alternative to the arrogant, somewhat brash, and linear Cubism of her peers. Her works bespoke the image of the modern woman in the Art-Deco inspired Jazz Age of Paris and provided a lucrative income during the 1940’s, as her works were in great demand. On June 6, 1956 Marie Laurencin died of a heart attack and was buried according to her wishes in Père Lachaise Cemetery dressed in a white dress with a rose in her hand and the letters from her first lover Guillaume Apollinaire next to her heart.


Salon des Indépendents, 1907, 1910, 1911

Galerie Boëtie, 1912

Galerie Barbazanges, 1912

Armory Show, New York, 1913

Rosenberg Gallery, 1920

Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industrielles Modernes, 1925

Museums and Public Collections

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Art Institute of Chicago, IL

Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

Chi-Mei Museum, Taiwan, China

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Florida

Currier Gallery of Art, New Hampshire

Dallas Art Museum, Texas

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California

Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana

Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

Laurencin Museum, Nagano, Japan

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minnesota

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Musée de Grenoble, France

Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, France

Musée Marie Laurencin, Tokyo, Japan

Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

New York Public Library, NY

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania

Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago

Tate Gallery, London, England

Toledo Museum of Art, OH

Winnepeg Art Gallery, Manitoba

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