Jeanne Duval

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jeanne Duval
Jeanne Duval.JPG
Duval as Baudelaire's Mistress, Reclining by Édouard Manet
Born Possibly Jeanne Duval,
Jeanne Prosper,
or Jeanne Lemer

c. 1820
Jacmel, Haiti
Died 1862
Paris, France
Residence 6 rue de la Femme-sans-tête
Paris, France
Partner(s) Charles Baudelaire

Jeanne Duval (French pronunciation: ​[ʒan dyˈval]) (c.1820 – 1862) was a Haitian-born actress and dancer of mixed French and black African ancestry. For 20 years, she was the muse of French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire. They met in 1842, when Duval left Haiti for France, and the two remained together, albeit stormily, for the next two decades. Duval is said to have been the woman whom Baudelaire loved most, in his life,[1] after his mother. She was born in Haiti on an unknown date, sometime around 1820.

Poems of Baudelaire's which are dedicated to Duval or pay her homage are: Le balcon, Parfum exotique, La chevelure, Sed non satiata, Le serpent qui danse, and Une charogne.

Baudelaire called her "mistress of mistresses" and his "Vénus Noire" ("Black Venus"), and it is believed that, to him, Duval symbolized the dangerous beauty, sexuality, and mystery of a Creole woman in mid-nineteenth century France.[2] She lived at 6, rue de la Femme-sans-tête (Street of the Headless Woman), near the hôtel Pimodan.[3]

Manet, a friend of Baudelaire, painted Duval in his 1862 painting Baudelaire's Mistress, Reclining.[4] She was, by this time, going blind.[5]

Duval may have died of syphilis as early as 1862, five years prior to Baudelaire, who also died of syphilis.[6] Other sources also claim that Duval survived Baudelaire.[7] Nadar claimed to have seen Duval, last, in 1870—by this time, she was on crutches, suffering heavily from syphilis.[8]

Popular culture[edit]

Jeanne Duval serves as a main character in Caribbean author Nalo Hopkinson's The Salt Roads, a work of historic fiction,[9] and also in the title story of the collection Black Venus by Angela Carter.[10] The film My Heart Laid Bare, currently in production at Disruptive Element Films, is about the life of Jeanne Duval.[11]

In addition, she is the inspiration for a song called "Street of Roses" by then-Soviet heavy metal band Aria, on their 1987 album Hero of Asphalt.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]