Laurencin’s star continued to rise throughout the 1920s and ’30s. A sought-after portraitist, she painted the likes of Chanel, society figure Lady Cunard, and Jean Cocteau. In 1939 alone, Laurencin was the subject of 11 solo exhibitions. She bought a château with her earnings in the mid-1920s, and invited Suzanne Moreau—generally accepted as her long-term girlfriend—to live with her. After initially employing her as a maid, Laurencin legally adopted Moreau as her daughter, and the two women cohabited for the rest of their lives (the artist died in 1956).
Laurencin’s fame has endured in Japan, bolstered by collector Masahiro Takano, the founder of the Green Cap taxi company. In 1983, the Marie Laurencin Museum opened in Tokyo to house Takano’s private collection, which included more than 600 of her works. It was the first museum in the world devoted to a single female painter.
While Laurencin is represented in a number of national collections, her work is all too often in storage. Her idiosyncratic riffs on Cubism’s reduction and geometry, and on Fauvism’s hallucinatory colors and wild brushstrokes, are not easy to situate in any linear stories about the development of modernism. Her depictions of a feminine utopia have been written off as kitsch.