Maurice Utrillo

Maquis, Montmartre

Oil on canvas: 7.5(h) x 9.5(w) in /

19(h) x 24.1(w) cm

Signed lower right: Maurice, Utrillo, V., and inscribed lower left: Montmartre,

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BV 194

 

MAURICE UTRILLO

Paris 1883 – 1955 Dax

 

Maquis de Montmartre

 

Signed lower right: Maurice, Utrillo, V., and inscribed lower left: Montmartre, Oil on canvas: 7 ½ x 9 ½ in / 19 x 24.1 cm

Frame size: 13 x 15 ¼ in / 33 x 38.7 cm

In a Louis XV style carved and gilded frame

Painted circa 1939

Provenance:

Perls Galleries, New York Galerie Gianna Sistu, Paris Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery, New York Private collection, USA

 

Literature:

P Pétridès, L’Oeuvre Complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris 1969, vol. III, pp.224-225, no.1949, illus.

 

This painting has been authenticated by Hélène Bruneau and Cédric Paillier of the Comité Utrillo and will be included in the forthcoming volume of the Catalogue Raisonné du l’Oeuvre Complet de Maurice Utrillo by the late Jean Fabris and Cédric Paillier, archive no.1951

 

Maurice Utrillo was the painter par excellence of Montmartre, capturing the raffish, semi-rural air of this northern district of Paris, the magnet for so many artists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Painted circa 1939, this work belongs to Utrillo’s ‘periode colorée’ which began in 1922 and lasted until his death in 1955. Characterized by a rich use of colour and bold compositions, this phase heralded a departure from Utrillo’s earlier, more restrained palette and led to a significant rise in the popularity of his work. Exhibitions at Galerie Bernheim Jeune in Paris led to commercial success and 1927 saw the publication of five monographs devoted to Utrillo.

This painting shows two of the iconic monuments of Montmartre, the church of Sacré-Coeur and one of the windmills scattered on the slopes, originally built to grind flour for the city of Paris. By Utrillo’s day the famous Moulin Rouge had become a place of entertainment. Sacré-Coeur, built between 1875 and 1914, was intended to assert the spiritual renewal of France after the decadence of the Second Empire and the violence of the Commune (1870-71). Sacré-Coeur ironically can be seen both as a symbol of triumphant, Catholic conservatism and government control, and as a monument to the Socialist martyrs of the Commune. The insurrection had begun in Montmartre and many Communards were entombed in the gypsum mines beneath the hill when the Army detonated explosives to cut off their retreat.

 

MAURICE UTRILLO

Paris 1883 – 1955 Dax

 

 

Born in Paris in 1883, Maurice Utrillo was the son of the artist and model Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) and the Spanish painter Miguel Utrillo (1862-1934). He was encouraged by his mother to take up painting as a distraction from his need for alcohol. In 1903-4 Maurice executed almost 150 sombre, heavily-impasted landscapes of Montmagny, a village to the north of Paris. In 1906 he returned to Montmartre and began to paint the semi-rural north-eastern suburb in lighter tones. Influenced by Pissarro and Caillebotte, Utrillo made the subject of Montmartre his own. 

 

From 1909 until around 1914 Utrillo mixed glue, plaster or cement with his paint to obtain the whites for which he became famous. His buildings show a striking contrast between the boldness of his colour and painstaking draughtsmanship achieved by ruler and compass. Eventually, these experiments led to austere monochrome works in beige and grey.

 

Poor health and shyness led Utrillo to withdraw from Montmartre into a series of nursing homes. His mother and stepfather, the painter André Utter (1886-1948), provided postcards of Montmartre as inspiration. In 1936 he married Lucie Pauwels and moved to Vésinet. His late landscapes have rich colours and strong, black contours. From 1937, at the request of his family, Maurice was looked after by his friend and dealer Paul Pétridès. He died in Dax in 1955.

 

The work of Maurice Utrillo is represented in Tate Modern, London; the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Paris; the National Gallery and the Phillips Collection, Washington DC.

 

 

 

ImpressionistMaurice Utrillo