Her given name was Valentine Gross, which she painted under until 1919, when she married Jean Hugo. Together the two artists created the sets and costumes for Jean Cocteau's play, Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (1921). In 1926 she studied woodblock technique and engraved twenty-four plates for Romeo and Juliet, after Jean Hugo's maquettes, creating a dream world with faceless silhouettes. Hugo also made lithographic portraits of many celebrities of the arts and letters, including Satie, Picasso, Valéry, Raymond Radiguet, Georges Auric, Princesse Bibesco and Jeanne Falconetti in her role as Joan of Arc. In 1930 Hugo began to associate herself with the surrealist movement and composed startling gouache and pastel illustrations, the finest being those for Lautréamont's Chants de Maldoror (1932-3) and the Contes Bizarres (1933) by Achim von Arnim. Hugo's etchings illustrated Paul Éluard's Les Animaux et les Hommes (1937) and Placard pour un chemin des écoliers (1937) by René Char. She also did a series of allegorical paintings evoking the life and poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. Hugo met with great success in 1947 with her sets for Pelléas et Mélisande at the Paris Opéra-Comique.  

Valentine Hugo

Born 1890 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; died 1967 in Paris.  

Portraits des Poetes Surréalistes​, Oil on Panel with Inlaid Brass Patterns, c. 1932-48