Valentine Hugo 26 March 1897-1968
Valentine Hugo was a French artist, theatre and costume designer, author, illustrator and radio broadcaster. She is still sometimes remembered in France and is not as forgotten elsewhere as some of the other 31 women, though where Valentine is mentioned she is usually tagged on at the end of a list of surrealist artists, all men. She painted portraits of a number of them; her best known painting is probably her 1934 portrait of Picasso, staring with dark intensity from between the horns of a symbolic bull.
She was born Valentine Marie Augustine Gross in the seaside town of Boulogne and died 1968 in Paris. Her mother was Zèlie Dèmelin Gross and father Auguste Gross, who was a musician and as a child Valentine developed a love for music and theatre as well as art. She studied art and her first claim to fame was in 1913 when an exhibition of her ballet drawings adorned the foyer of the of the Champs-Elysèes Theatre on the opening night of The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky’s hugely controversial ballet.