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YOU DECIDE! Marie Laurencin

There are three birth dates listed for artist Marie Laurencin on the Internet. Which one do you think is correct?

#80 SAT SCO         10/31/1885
#44 WED SCO       10/31/1883
#68 VEN SCO        10/31/1884

Marie Laurencin is a French painter, illustrator and stage designer. She was born as an illegitimate child and was raised by her mother. She didn’t learn the identity of her father until she was an adult and he had already died. At the age of 18 she was sent away to learn porcelain painting  at a factory. She returned to Paris, determined to be trained and become a painter. Shortly she was exhibiting her work as a cubist within the artistic circle of Picasso and found herself the mistress of a famous poet.  Her affair with Apollinaire was intense and lasted only seven years due to the fact that he was a flagrant womanizer.

ArtemisDuring the first World War Laurencin left France for Spain with her new husband Baron Otto von Waetjen. After several years she returned to France divorced. Later an arrangement with the art dealer, Paul Rosemberg, allowed her to work without financial concern. During the Depression and throughout the 1930s she took on work as an art instructor at a private school.  She died at the age of  72 and was buried exactly in the manner that she had requested. She was laid to rest in a white dress holding a rose in one hand and clutching Apollinaire’s letters to her heart with the other hand.

A short video of Laurencin’s work can be found online. Most of her illustrations are of pale, wistful women with dark eyes. Here and there you’ll see her extraordinary talent displayed when depicting a specific individual, sometimes herself.  Laurencin is famous for this one-liner “Why should I paint dead fish, onions, and beer glasses? Girls are so much prettier?”  She also wrote this about herself,  “Loves luxury, very proud of being born in Paris. Knows all the songs from ‘Sylvie.’ Dislikes speeches, scoldings, advice, and compliments. Eats fast, walks fast. Paints very slowly.”

So which of our three dates was Marie Laurencin’s birthday?  

You-DecideIn the past we have produced a document or article that proves the true birthdate, but we will be unable to do so in this case. As far as I know there is nothing online which discusses why there is a question regarding Marie Laurencin’s birth. Oh, well!

Instead of relying on our intuition we will try some old fashioned reasoning. We will look for any thoughts as to why there are three possible birth dates and which date is most likely to be correct.  First of all, I admit that at first I would have guessed Marie Laurencin was born on Friday, but that will not fly. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. Yes, she painted a great many female subjects and her personal  style was often quite feminine. There is only one source listing 1884 as her birthday year.  This singular appearance appears to be a simple typo. It happens.

Wikipedia is an authoritative sources for biographies. The English version lists 1883 as the year of Laurencin’s birth, but the French version gives 1885. You would think that the authors of the two references might check with one-another, but apparently not. It should be noted that there isone, and only one site, that mentions both the 1883 and 1985 but with not a clue as to why.  Maybe the controversy as to her birth date is due to the fact she was born out of wedlock; maybe because it was so long ago. Most sources in the U.S.A. use only the Wednesday 1883 birthday. and likewise many European entries give the 1885 Saturday date.

Marie LIf we were simply to guess Marie Laurencin’s birth date based on her biographical  information, it would have be Saturday. She was raised without knowing her father. Her marital relationships with men were disastrous. She may or may not have been bisexual, but she was exceptionally good friends with notable lesbian women of the time. Professionally she was accepted in highly masculine circles. Laurencin supported herself for her entire life producing hundreds of paintings in her own distinctive style. All these facts indicate a strong Saturn influence, and so I’ve decided for myself, Saturday is the day. But we really don’t know!

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