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It’s something of a truism that the life of an artist heavily influences his or her work. No exhibition makes this clearer than “Utrillo & Valadon” at the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, which pairs the art of Maurice Utrillo, the famous painter of Parisian cityscapes, and his mother, Suzanne Valadon, famous as a model and an artist in her own right.

But while the connection between biography and artistic output is always significant and interesting, the fascinating point about this exhibition is that it also allows us to speculate on how the relationship between these two artists influenced them and their art. In particular, one suspects that Utrillo’s art could not have been what it was without the input of his mother, even if this had a negative aspect.

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