• Impressionist/Modern Day Sale  auction at Christies

    Sale 2313

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale

    5 May 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 393

    Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

    La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne)

    Price Realised  

    Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
    La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne)
    signed 'Maurice. Utrillo. V.' (lower right)
    oil on board laid down on cradled panel
    21¼ x 28¾ in. (54 x 73 cm.)
    Painted circa 1909


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    Born in Paris on December 26, 1883, Maurice Utrillo was the son of the artist and professional model Suzanne Valadon. Much has been said of Utrillo's dissipated days. His life was marked by a long and tragic series of alcoholic problems, periods of deep depression and anxiety, followed by visits to hospitals and nursing homes for treatments. From a young age, upon a physician's advice, his mother encouraged Utrillo to begin painting as an emotional outlet, as a means of regaining equilibrium and peace.

    Beginning in 1902, Utrillo created pictures of urban landscapes with considerable style and originality. The finest examples of his work, however, were from the period around 1909, the year in which La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) was painted, and ending in 1914. La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) is a panoramic view of the Pont-Neuf, one of Toulouse's oldest bridges, and the city's landmark. The quiet atmosphere and stillness of this painting is enhanced by the modulation and variation of the white pigment, meticulously obtained by mixing plaster with glue and zinc oxide, through which the artist was able to achieve a simulation of the textural effects of the surfaces of the bridges and buildings.

    Utrillo established his own creative style through self-study and advice from his mother. He had an aversion to painting outdoors, while people looked on, preferring instead to work in the isolation of his room, relying on memory and on the pile of postcards which his mother had given to him. Throughout his paintings, of which La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) is one of the finest examples, Utrillo has immortalized many of the most important 20th century French landscapes. Although his life was plagued by alcoholism, Utrillo owes his redemption to painting, an artistic and yet therapeutic practice that helped him release and preserve his uncontestable genius.

    Provenance

    Henri Bing, Paris.
    Private collection, Switzerland.
    Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London (by 1973).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, August 1989.


    Literature

    F. Carco, Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1921, p. 19 (illustrated).
    R. Rey, l'Amour de l'art, no. 4, April 1925, p. 149 (illustrated).
    G. Charensol, "Maurice Utrillo," Chroniques du jour, 1929, pl. 7 (illustrated).
    F. Fels, "Les Albums d'art Druet, XXII, Utrillo," Librairie de France, 1930, pl. 13 (illustrated).
    S. Miyata, "Utrillo," Atelier-Sha, 1932, pl. 8 (illustrated).
    P. Courthion, Utrillo, Bern, 1947, pl. 19 (illustrated).
    P. Pétridès, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1974, vol. V, p. 128, no. 2498 (illustrated, p. 129; titled Les ponts de Toulouse).
    N. Senzoku, Utrillo, 25 Great Masters of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1980, vol. 15, p. 114, no. 21 (illustrated in color).
    J. Fabris and C. Paillier, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 2009, p. 570, no. 81 (illustrated in color, p. 138).


    Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Fiquet, Maurice Utrillo, May 1925, no. 9 (illustrated).
    Bern, Kunsthalle, Maurice Utrillo, June-July 1949, no. 21 (illustrated).
    Bern, Kunsthalle, Europäische Kunst aus Berner Privatbesitz, 1953.
    Bern, Kunstmuseum, Utrillo, January-March 1963, no. 19 (illustrated).
    Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, Chefs d'oeuvre des collections suisses, de Manet à Picasso, 1964, no. 310 (illustrated).
    New York, Marlborough Gallery, Inc., Masters of the 20th Century, 1971, no. 83 (illustrated in color).
    London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Selected European Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries, 1973, no. 80 (illustrated in color).
    Tokyo, Galeries Isetan; Nara, Musée d'art de la préfecture de Aichi and Centre culturel de la préfecture de Fukuoka, Utrillo, October 1978-February 1979, no. 15 (illustrated in color).
    Tokyo, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries: Inaugural Exhibition, October-December 1983, no. 21 (illustrated in color).
    New York, Marlborough Gallery, Inc., Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries, November-December 1986, no. 47 (illustrated in color).