Abstract artist Valerie Jaudon was born on 6 August 1945 in Greenville, Mississippi. As early as elementary school she became fascinated with art and art history. She developed an appreciation for the works of Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. These and other artists, plus the highly structured elements of music and architecture, influenced Jaudon’s artistic choices and career path.
She attended Mississippi University for Women in Columbus in 1963 and then Memphis Academy of Art in 1965. She studied art at the University of the Americas in Mexico City in 1966 and two years later went to St. Martin’s School of Art in London. Not until 1975 did she make her debut in a two-person show with artist-designer Sonia Delaunay in New York. Two years later, New York’s Holly Solomon Gallery presented Jaudon’s first solo exhibition.
In the 1970s Jaudon linked herself with the female-dominated pattern and decoration movement, which emphasized art’s aesthetic values and usefulness. Both her work and her philosophy have subsequently evolved, yet she continues to follow that movement’s basic tenets. Her imagery at first comprised gridlike, geometric abstractions. Indeed, her oil paintings from the 1980s reflect Gothic and Romanesque architectural influences, with their rounded and pointed arch and gable formations. More recently her focus has shifted to painting ornamental figures that, though still symmetrical and abstract in form, do not overwhelm the canvas. The strict, interlaced lines of her earlier creations gave way to floating figures that rest in larger planes of color and space.
Her work has appeared solo at the Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles, Sidney Janis Gallery in New York, Amerika Haus in Berlin, the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. She has also participated in group exhibitions in London; New York; Washington, D.C.; Belgium; Germany; and Norway. Jaudon has also completed fourteen public art commissions, including several in New York City: Long Division (1988) for the MTA Lexington Avenue Subway, Reunion (1989) at the Police Plaza/Municipal Building, and Free Style (1989) at the Equitable Building.
Jaudon’s work appears in numerous museum collections, among them the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Charles Ireland Memorial Sculpture Garden of the Birmingham Museum of Art; and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Jaudon lives and works in New York, where she also serves as a professor of art at Hunter College. Among her numerous honors are the 1981 and 1997 Art Awards from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
- René Paul Barilleaux, Valerie Jaudon (1996)